You probably saw some of the headlines last week where Box announced that is supporting HIPAA and HITECH compliance, signing Business Associate Agreements, (BAAs) and integrating with several platform app partners such as Doximity, drchrono, TigerText, and Medigram to help seed its new healthcare ecosystem. I also announced that I was formally advising Box on their healthcare strategy.
I was drawn to Box because of all the lessons I learned at Google building a consumer-directed, personal health record (PHR), Google Health. Google Health allowed you to securely store, organize and share all of your medical records online and control where your data went and how it was managed. It was unlike the other PHRs in the industry that were tethered to the provider or payor or part of an Electronic Health Record (EHR) system.
Sound good? Well, it was in theory. The big issue with Google Health was aggregating your data from the disparate sources that stored data on you. We had to create a ton of point-to-point integrations with large health insurance companies, academic medical centers, hospitals, medical practices and retail pharmacy chains. All of these providers and payors were covered entities in the world of HIPAA and were required to verify a patient’s identity before releasing any data to them electronically. It was a very bumpy user experience for even the most super-charged, IT savvy consumer.
In a number of interviews with leading HIE vendors, it is becoming clear that the clinical standard, Continuity of Care Document (CCD) will be the dominant standard in the future. The leading competing standard, Continuity of Care Record (CCR) appears to be fading with one vendor stating that virtually no client is asking for CCR today. This HIE vendor did state that one client did ask for CCR, but only to enable data transfer to Google Health.
CCR was created by ASTM with major involvement by AAFP wih the objective to create a standard that would be far easier to deploy and use by smaller physician practices. At the time of CCR formation, the dominant standard was HL7’s CDA, a beast of a standard that was structured to serve large hospitals and based on some fairly old technology and architectural constructs. With competing CDA and CCR standards in the market, there was a need for some rationalization which led to the development of CCD, a standard that combined some of the best features of CCR and CDA.
Today, CCD is seen as a more flexible standard that is not nearly as prescriptive as CCR. This allows IT staff to structure and customize their internal HIT architecture and features therein for their users and not be confind to a strict architectural definition such as that found in CCR. (Note: such strict definitions are not always a bad thing as they can greatly simplify deployment and use, but such simplicity comes at a price, flexibility.)
Unfortunately for Google Health, who has built its system on top of a modified version of CCR, this trend likely lead to increasingly difficulty in convincing healthcare providers to provide patient health records in a CCR format. Google would be wise to immediately begin the work necessary to bring CCD documents into their system as the writing on the wall is getting clearer by the day. CCR is a standard that will fade away.
John Moore is an IT Analyst at Chilmark Research, where this post was first published.
However…I can’t help but comment on John’s misleading story “CCD Standard Gaining Traction, CCR Fading” on THCB. He writes: “In a number of interviews with leading HIE [Health Information Exchange] vendors, it is becoming clear that the clinical standard, Continuity of Care Document (CCD) will be the dominant standard in the future. The leading competing standard, Continuity of Care Record (CCR) appears to be fading with one vendor stating that virtually no client is asking for CCR today.”Continue reading…
In the cacophony of health IT issues, products, and goals that compete every day for our attention, it is easy to lose sight of the profound value that could come from the universal availability of a simple core set of relevant and portable personal health information in digital format.
If everyone in the country who wanted one, and if every doctor or nurse taking care of a patient needing one, had access to a digitally formatted set of current health data about the person in question, we as a country would benefit at many levels. I am talking about basic information — such as demographics, a problem and diagnosis list, a list of medications, allergies, recent vital signs (blood pressure, weight, etc.), and information about the most recent health care encounters. Individuals would get more continuous care and better coordinated care decisions. Payers would pay for fewer duplicated or unnecessary tests and procedures. Doctors would face less risk of error when making decisions in the ER. Researchers would give us better feedback on populations of patients, e.g. those with diabetes, to improve care and care processes. And the whole of society would benefit from a real-time, steadily enhanced knowledge database about what works to promote wellness, health, and to lower health care costs.Continue reading…