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The IJIS Factor is the IJIS Institute's blog that covers technology and information sharing and safeguarding topics, including national standards and initiatives.


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HL7 Annual Plenary and Working Group Meeting

Posted By Tim Grapes, Thursday, October 11, 2018

Last week, I presented at the annual Health Level 7 (HL7) 32nd Annual Plenary and Working Group Meeting with Elysa Jones, Chair of the OASIS Emergency Management Technical Committee (EMTC). Our Birds of a Feather (BoF) session was entitled Bridging the Gap Part 2: HL7/OASIS Advancements in Emergency Continuity of Care.

At the event, OASIS and HL7 announced their joint release of the EDXL Hospital Availability Exchange Standard (HAVE) 2.0 1. It is a companion to the jointly released, bi-directional transformation specification between OASIS EDXL Tracking of Emergency Patients (TEP) and HL7 Admission/Discharge/Transfer V2 Specification that was announced in 2016.

I chair the TEP Subcommittee of the OASIS EMTC, which develops and addresses public and private feedback to the OASIS EDXL-Tracking of Emergency Patients (EDXL-TEP) messaging standard. The TEP standard assists emergency responders, coordinators, and management in the exchange of emergency patient and EMS tracking information from emergency scene to hospital or morgue.

The BoF session included an overview of the EDXL work with a focus on the medical response and healthcare domains and highlighted real-world applications of the TEP and HAVE work. The session also featured a live demonstration by Global Emergency Response (GER) of these standards in action, first through their work with Hurricane Florence and then by scanning and tracking audience volunteers.

The session was well attended by a diverse and engaged audience. The demonstration did a good job clarifying how the real-time nature of this information exchange enables greater situation awareness and transition of care. Audience discussion then turned to important issues related to policy, privacy, security, ease of implementation, and opportunities for re-use or reallocation of current assets, especially during mass casualty incidents.

The combined use of these interrelated standards offers emergency support agencies and hospital and healthcare facilities opportunities for greatly improved situational awareness, patient tracking and continuity of care, hospital preparedness, and family reunification.

But, as many of us are fond of saying, a standard isn’t a standard unless it’s used. Even though the potential benefits are great compared to relative costs, implementation can’t happen within one organization, and sometimes within one domain. It takes a high level of leadership and willingness to collaborate.

I wrote a blog post about this topic back in May of 2018 calling for the support and participation of industry in the adoption and use of the OASIS EDXL Tracking of Emergency Patients (TEP V1.1) standard. Perhaps that alone is a tall order, and maybe we shouldn’t be pointing only at industry. After all, who drives their priorities? We now have available to us standards that have been endorsed by both emergency and healthcare standards communities and that have been driven by volunteer practitioner time and sweat. That’s a rare thing. If these traditionally stand-alone organizations can act, then it’s time for the victims and families that we all care about to begin to reap the benefits too.

The IJIS Institute fully supports the development and use of open standards like the TEP. IJIS will continue to collaborate with OASIS and HL7 open standards groups along with our Members to promote broader adoption of open standards to facilitate public-sector technology and information sharing mission successes.

If you want to learn more about the TEP standard and how to apply it, please contact me at

Tags:  HL7  OASIS  OASIS EDXL Tracking of Emergency Patients  open standards 

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Interoperability Standards and the Procurement Process

Posted By Robert Shumate, Thursday, May 28, 2015
Updated: Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Procurement methods should seek to identify a framework within which information transfer and interoperability requirements may be implemented quickly and economically as future needs dictate. Rarely, if ever, will a buyer know at the time of procurement all of the possible information interactions that the system will need to handle in the future. Buyers should specify that products or custom solutions must embody implementations based upon open standards rather than proprietary methodologies. Established open standards are more likely to have implementations available from a wider selection of product or solution suppliers thus increasing your selection pool and offering flexibility for future expansion.

As in other areas of procurement, the buyer should refrain from proposing detailed specifications regarding the information exchange methods being sought and, instead, request providers to specify in detail how their solution will be able to deal with the implementation of future and as yet unknown exchange requirements. Buyers should concentrate on developing requirements that identifying those standards and specifications the supplier’s solution must incorporate. Buyers have a responsibility to ensure that they have adequate technical representation on their procurement governance committee to fully evaluate approaches to interoperability being offered by providers. If necessary, this may be a point at which obtaining outside technical expertise in evaluating suggested approaches may be well worth the cost.

Avoid the snare of narrowly selecting a solution that only addresses a currently known interoperability requirement and focus instead on seeking a broad framework to interoperability that offers an ongoing agile and economically feasible way to implementing interoperability requirement that may be required in the future. It is very important that you require Suppliers to describe in detail how provisioning of their interoperability services is accomplished focusing on cost and timing for provisioning a new endpoint.

Interoperability is generally defined as the ability of heterogeneous networks, applications, or components to exchange and use information. Unless you plan on living in isolation in an otherwise connected world, it is essential that you specify a set of interoperability standards that must be part of the solution that you are seeking. This is even more important if you do not have a well-defined Enterprise Architecture in place since this will provide a structure for you to participate in exchanging data with other systems in the future. In the following sections, we will discuss what an open standard is, how open standards fit in an interoperability framework and how to approach data transformations in defining interoperability in the procurement process.

Read the full article in the attached PDF.

Download File (PDF)

Tags:  interoperability  NIEM  open standards  procurement  web services 

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