Will C-CDA be the new PDF?

MU2 built on C-CDAHealth IT Stuff I Found – Consolidated-Clinical Data Architecture

By Joy Rios, Managing Partner at Practice Transformation

Twitter: @askjoyrios

Remember when there used to be several versions of Microsoft Word and if someone with a different version of the software sent you a file, no matter the  effort that went into formatting, the text would show up as a bunch of boxes or symbols? Over time, we smartened up and started sending PDF’s because they were more compact and they guaranteed that both the sender and the receiver of the document would see the same thing.

Why bring this up? One of the main goals of Health IT is to share patient information among care settings and facilities. You hear the word interoperability often. If you pay attention to the details of Meaningful Use, you may have heard the term C-CDA. But let’s be serious, if you’re not a programmer, you probably don’t remember what the acronym stands for or know to what it refers. Heck, how many of us know (or care) what PDF stands for? But I bet you know how to attach one to an email.

C-CDA stands for Consolidated-Clinical Data Architecture and it’s a component of all 2014 certified EHR technologies. EHR users will run into the term when they create a continuity of care document and when they send or receive referrals. Patients will encounter them in the patient portal, when they view, download, or transmit their health information.

Consultation Notes, Continuity of Care Documents, Discharge Summaries – these are based on C-CDA. People need to be able to read the file, but just as importantly, so do computers. To the human eye, they look like a neatly organized Excel spreadsheet that displays patient history, but behind the curtains there is complex code that points information in the right direction.

In this installment of Health IT Stuff I Found, I’m highlighting C-CDA explanations, frustrations, news and commentary. Enjoy.

CDA without templates

A few helpful C-CDA tweets: