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HL7, IHTSDO Expand Collaborative Efforts

July 11, 2011
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Health Level Seven Inc. (HL7), the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based standards development organization in health information technology, and the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation (IHTSDO), the Denmark-based provider of standardized clinical terminology, announced that they have expanded collaborative efforts that began in March 2009 with the signing of an official Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two organizations. The closer collaboration will foster healthcare information interoperability and lead to improvements in patient safety by further 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 the following:

  • 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 codes and 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 both HL7’s internal processes, and also in IHTSDO’s request submission process. The latter should improve submission of requests from all standards development organizations (SDOs).
  • 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.


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