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.