IT + Healthcare Data Transmission Standards = Health Information Exchange

The Healthcare industry is facing tremendous pressure to transform and adapt to new information technology systems. Automation of clinical information in healthcare is vital to this transformation. Healthcare information exchange standards value communication, prevention, and organization of patient information and put it to Meaningful Use.

ICD-10, Meaningful Use, ACOs, and the likes are mandated compliances for data exchange. These standards assist physicians, providers, payers, pharmacists, and others to keep track of patient medical history, update records, link insurance covers, process claims, aid treatment, etc.

Healthcare providers now need to re-align their IT initiatives to meet the recent changes in these compliances with minimal disruption in existing IT setup. Some of the changes proposed under Meaningful Use, ICD 9-10 conversion, and ACO mandate major changes that need introspection.

The major standards used for data transmission in the healthcare industry are:

  • EDI (Electronic Data Interchange): EDI is primarily used for interactions between care providers and health insurers.
  • HL7 (Health Level Seven): HL7 is similar to EDI; it is mainly used for transmitting data for all events that occur within a hospital. See Sample here
  • DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine):  Medical Images (X-Ray, MRI, etc.) are stored/transmitted/printed in a PACS (picture archiving and communication system) system using DICOM.
  • CCR/CCD (Continuity of Care Record / Document): CCD/CCR is a compact form with Patient’s health status summary. Under Meaningful Use a new format—CDA—which is a combination of the best features of CCD and CCR, is proposed. See Sample here

Other standards used are:

  • NCPDP (National Council for Prescription Drug Programs): Family of pharmacy data standards
  • HITSP (Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel): Related to transmission of immunization data, bio surveillance, clinical research, etc.

The following workflow shows the standards used at various stages for data transmission:

Healthcare Data Transmission

Figure 1 Healthcare Data Transmission within Stakeholders

With more than a decade’s experience in providing integration solutions for the healthcare industry, Syntel has worked on various standards for payers and provider alike.

Sample HL7 Message

Figure 2: Sample HL7 Message- Admission of Karen Jones

Sample CCR Message

Figure 3: Sample CCR File – Physician John Lester treating a patient having Pressure ulcer