Health Story Project joins HIMSS

Initiative focused on developing data standards to aid flow of information
By Bernie Monegain
10:01 AM
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Carla Smith, HIMSS executive vice president

The Health Story Project, an alliance that has created healthcare data standards, has become part of HIMSS, Carla Smith, HIMSS executive vice president, announced at a HIMSS Policy Summit news conference Sept. 18 at National Health IT Week in the nation’s capital.

Today, most electronic patient records and health information exchanges operate on a small percentage of the available information, Smith said. Over the past six years, the HIMSS Health Story Project has supported development of standards for a comprehensive electronic record that can be shared to improve care through collaboration and analysis.

[See also: Demo to connect patient story to clinical data.]

"Welcoming the Health Story Project enables HIMSS to advance our cause by improving the completeness and interoperability of electronic health records," Smith said. "The Health Story Project welcomes new participants into this important work."

Starting as an independent alliance of healthcare vendors, providers and associations, the project pooled resources in a rapid-development initiative with eight specifications balloted through Health Level Seven, and then, initiated the harmonization of this work in the joint Health Story, HL7, IHE and ONC consolidation that led to the Consolidated CDA, which is at the core of meaningful use Stage 2.

New work ahead
In 2014, the Health Story Project team plans to work towards widespread use of existing basic information standards to fill the gaps in meaningful use, working with clinicians looking to make a successful transition to the EHR, HIMSS executives said at the news conference. In addition, future plans include efforts to increase awareness of the connection between payment reform, cost reduction, affordable care, new delivery models and their dependence on access to a complete record.

[See also: ONC to help work on EHR harmony.]

"Antiquated efforts to reduce the clinical record to a tightly defined, fully interoperable data stream are expensive, disruptive to clinical practice, out of step with new technology, and won’t scale to support new models of care delivery, coordination and payment," said Liora Alschuler, a project co-founder and CEO of Lantana Consulting Group. "Health Story’s approach has always been to get the data flowing, get the information flowing, and work from where we are today toward big data, incrementally structured."

The Health Story Value Statement preamble includes the basic values of this platform:

  1. A health record is the patient’s "health story" and is shared by the patient and the circle of caregivers involved in his or her care. Sharing encompasses both access and authorship.
  2. The primary purpose of the record is to support care delivery, which in turn, will support better health. Secondary reuse should be supported.
  3. The transition from paper to electronic records must produce a longitudinal record of lasting value. That record must express the thought processes behind the delivery of care, preserving this for future readers.
  4. Clinical records must be complete, well organized, easy to navigate, concise, logical, adaptable to the needs of the user, sharable, and secure.
  5. The electronic record and associated new technologies support shared decision-making, document use of practice guidelines, and support evidence-based practice.
  6. The preamble also provides perspectives on the value of a complete health story from the perspective of clinicians, health information managers, patients, payers, researchers and analysts and vendors.