This is the third post in a series on the past, present and future of the IHE PCC domain. So what’s next? Lots of stuff! At our face to face meeting this past summer we held a strategy meeting to discuss what we are doing with our domain as we were in a place of needing such clarification. The results of that two or so hour long session were new vision and mission statements, and a set of shiny new strategic goals for our domain.
The vision of PCC is to continually improve patient outcomes through the use of technology connecting patients and their care providers across healthcare disciplines and care paths.
The mission of PCC is to develop and maintain interoperability profiles to support coordination of care for patients where care crosses providers, patient conditions and health concerns, or time.
The strategic goals of PCC, which are 3–5 years in length, are to focus on content, workflow and nursing.. These three goals originate out of the work we have been focused on for the past several years and so they are not new concepts to us. However we felt it important to document specifics items around these goals to ensure our path forward is clear.
PCC has had such a heavy focus on content over its lifetime, and naturally content standards and implementation guidance is changing along with the landscape of HIT. HL7 has recently produced the Consolidated CDA implementation guide, which directly competes with PCC content profiles. I am not convinced this was entirely intentional on HL7’s part, as the implementation guide itself is actually quite good and there are even a few references to PCC content templates within it. To be more specific, C-CDA replaces the family of HITSP implementation guides that all sit on top of PCC content templates, but C-CDA also has breaking changes to the existing PCC templates, and at the current time is US realm only. This last bit is a big challenge for many non-US implementers, and the reason why adoption and uptake of C-CDA has been primarily US focused vendors. Due to these recent events around content PCC feels that it should be proactive and engaged with HL7 to ensure that the responsibility to create and maintain content templates is shared between the two organizations.
So what roles do each play as it relates to content? I believe HL7 should continue to play the role of providing the framework aspect of content with a bit of guidance based on healthcare domain, so they would own how any given CDA section and CDA entry should be structured with minimal guidance on implementation details of those templates. PCC would own the more specific implementations of those artefacts based on specific clinical use cases. This would include extensions to the schema, value sets and optionality. This makes sense as HL7 has a lot of experience with vetting standards to ensure they are broadly adoptable, and IHE has a lot of experience working with stakeholders from a variety of medical disciplines and has a great process already in place (Connectathons) to test profiles.
Workflow has long been a focus of PCC but really only in piecemeal, which is the same approach many other IHE domains follow. By piecemeal I mean more focused inwardly on solving a clinical use cases that have been brought to our domain rather than taking a cross-domain approach. Yes we do have a few profiles that have crossed into other domains, but by and large we author those profiles within PCC and have not always actively engaged other domains in our efforts. I believe PCC is well positioned to expand outside of our domain and across to other IHE domains to bring together workflows that are realized in the real world but have yet to be well represented in the interoperability profiling space.
PCC has received several profile proposals this year (four to be exact) that came from other IHE domains. Those domains are Radiology and Patient Care Devices. So you can imagine our delight of this news after our recent strategy sessions which concluded this exact effort is something we should be working on. It seems to be confirmation in every way that we are moving in the right direction.
The Nursing Sub-committee of PCC was established in 2008 and has had decent participation over the years, however the uptake of work produced from this sector of PCC has not been strong. I believe this is primarily because the content profiles we have produced easily apply to both nursing and clinician/physician based content. The difference however, is primarily in the workflows, and workflow also happens to be one of our strategic goals. We have learned that nursing workflows are often times vastly different from their counterpart clinician/physician workflows. And so we are presented with an opportunity to provide better guidance in this space.
Overall PCC is in a great place right now, on the cusp of exploring new opportunities as the world of HIT and interoperability continues to mature and change. If you are interested in getting involved check out our wiki page here.