HL7 and IHTSDO Expand Collaborative Efforts



Ann Arbor, MI- Health Level Seven (HL7) and the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation (IHTSDO) announced Thursday, July 7th that they have expanded collaborative efforts. According to leaders from both groups, the closer collaboration will foster healthcare information interoperability and lead to improvements in patient safety by futher facilitating the use of IHTSDO standards with HL7 standards.

IHTSDO and HL7 are jointly working on a number of key global healthcare information technology standards initiatives, including:

  • IHTSDO is making SNOMED CT codes and descriptions freely available for release in HL7 products, under  a public good license, in order to improve semantic healthcare interoperability across countries and to improve patient safety. HL7 will use the codesand descriptions to produce a number of SNOMED-enabled products, using universal realm bindings to SNOMED CT where appropriate.
  • HL7 is investigating use of the IHTSDO Workbench to maintain its vocabulary. Use of common tooling will improve harmonization, leading to benefits across the two organizations as well as for users of both standards.
  • HL7 and IHTSDO are jointly reviewing and streamlining the request submissions process, to enable requests for additions and amendments to SNOMED CT codes to be made more effectively. Improvements are being made in HL7’s internal processes, and also in IHTSDO’s request submission process.
  • IHTSDO has announced its support for the development of Release 2 of the Common Terminology Services standard (CTS2) by HL7 and OMG. This standard will provide a consistent interface into terminologies in EHR environments.

According to HL7 Board Chair Bob Dolin, MD, “Expanding on the coordination and collaborative efforts between HL7 and IHTSDO, these joint initiatives signify a major step toward the construction of globally applicable healthcare interoperability standards that will require far less realm-localization. HL7 is committed to working with IHTSDO and other standards bodies to advance the delivery of safe and effective patient care.”

IHTSDO Chief Executive Officer Jan-Eric Slot said, “Making it easier to use HL7 standards with SNOMED CT will facilitate global standards-based healthcare implementations, where it will add the semantic dimension to interoperability.” He continued, “The closer working relationship between these two leading organizations will improve the uptake and effectiveness of these jointly developed standards by members of both HL7 and IHTSDO.”