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Subject: Proposed New Subcommittee for the OASIS IHC TC

Title: Proposed New Subcommittee for the OASIS IHC TC

Dear IHC Colleagues:

I suggest that we consider creating a focused project, housed in an explicit subcommittee of this TC, around SOA consumption of, and interoperability with, the widely-used SNOMED-CT health vocabulary. Successful productivity for us depends on definition of concrete, incremental useful works that will aggregate as useful building blocks to assemble the broader deliverables we contemplate in a fully-realized e-health environment of intelligent electronic health records (iEHR) , notices and transactions. One essential and early building block is the fully encoded and interoperable iEHR.

SNOMED-CT is a widely-adopted, international controlled vocabulary of medicine, described by its supporting organization, the College of American Pathologists (CAP), as a comprehensive solution for clinical health data representation. Negotiations completed recently between SNOMED International and the United States government allow nearly unlimited use of SNOMED-within the U.S., and make this proposal especially timely. We are pleased to report that we have confirmed with CAP its willingness to permit re-use of the vocabulary by this TC, for inclusion and use in a form suitable for SOA data standards.

We propose that the TC create a new IHC Subcommittee on SNOMED CT & Document-centric Healthcare Metadata, which will focus on strategies to facilitate the integration of healthcare metadata expressions using freely-available components of SNOMED-CT and complementary vocabularies into OASIS Standard methods already available for wide re-use, such as the OpenDocument Format for office applications and the ebXML transactional e-business framework.

We anticipate liaisons within and outside of the OASIS committee structure. The work of this subcommittee should lead to standards for embedding interoperable, computer-processable representations of healthcare assertions within SOA projects and (in particular) within ODF documents, based on encodings using SNOMED CT and complementary vocabularies. There may be a number of other standardized e-business and e-government methods with which liaison, and work towards compatibility, also would be desirable and will be in scope, subject to the subcommittee and committee making a determination about their feasibility, completeness and priority. However, the initial focus on SNOMED CT encoded OpenDocument Documents delivered via ebXML should provide both a sufficient initial work agenda, and a great deal of additional opportunity for interoperability.

This work will highlight the interoperability of OASIS standards with widely-used medical data representation standards. It represents a logical next step on the path toward widespread use of reference terminologies in healthcare data services and documents.

Dr. John Madden from Duke University Medical Center has agreed to serve as chair of this subcommittee, and I would like to serve as his co-chair, subject to your consent. This constitutes my motion for a web ballot under our rules, and Dr. Madden has agreed to second that motion. Accordingly, if there are no objections or suggestions for improvement of the work plan described above, we will initiate a web-based ballot of our IHC voting members to approve the creation of the subcommittee.

Kind regards,


Peter L. Elkin, MD, FACP
Professor of Medicine
Mayo Clinic College of Medicine

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