FHIR Ballot Prep

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This page lists the tasks to be completed by work groups in preparation for the R4 release of the FHIR core specification. The timelines for implementation guide publication and balloting may differ. Implementation Guides may choose to either publish in sync with the core specification (and actively manage dependencies as underlying resources and profiles are updated) or may choose to ballot later, once the FHIR specification is finalized. (The disadvantage of the latter approach is that changes to the core specification identified as part of implementation guide revision won't be able to be applied until a subsequent release.)

Notes:

  • R4 is the first FHIR publication that is hoped to contain Normative content. For those who aren't familiar with HL7 processes, Normative means that, once the specification passes, we will no longer make breaking changes to the specification from that point forward - ever. The rules for change in FHIR for normative content are described [here].
  • R4 is also the first time we're expecting to have multiple "ballots" for FHIR core content. This means that there will be one FHIR specification hosted on the web. However, each page in the specification will identify both what level it's being balloted at (not balloted, draft, STU or normative) as well as which ballot it's part of. Multiple ballots are necessary to allow content to proceeed by different paths - balloting at different levels requires separate ballots and if there's a need to allow some content to be demoted to a lower level while other content remains on the normative path, that content needs to be packaged separately.

Priorities

For this WGM:

  • Discuss the candidate normative artifacts and evaluate whether your WG/organization would like to see the list changed. The current candidate list is:
    • Framework, XML, JSON, RESTful API, Search, Data types
    • CodeSystem, ValueSet, ConceptMap. (But not all operations on those resources)
    • Bundle, OperationOutcome, Parameters, StructureDefinition, SearchParameter, CapabilityStatement, OperationDefinition
    • Patient, Observation
  • Look at the revised workflow patterns ([Definition], [Request], [Event]) and consider how to apply them to your artifacts
  • Look at the new quality criteria - for resources and other artifacts - and plan for how you'll work at meeting them
  • Identify what your target FMM levels are for the artifacts you control
  • Identify any new resources or IGs you want in R4
  • Look at your tracker items and plan to manage them

For the R4 publication - STU candidates:

  • Align with updated workflow patterns where it makes sense to do so and agree on deviations with the Workflow project
  • Clear (and then keep on top of) tracker items
  • Move towards your target FMM levels
  • Candidate normative artifacts: In addition to the above, get this content "rock solid" - substantive changes applied, QA complete, artifact to the point where the WG and community is happy for it to be "locked down"

For the R4 publication - Normative candidates:

  • all of the above plus:
    • Get all content "rock solid" with both WG and community in agreement that content is ready to be set in stone

Ballot schedule

January 2018 Cycle

Single FHIR Core 'For Comment' Ballot, possible IG R3-based STU ballots, possible IG R4-based 'For Comment' ballots

The purpose of this ballot is to provide an early review of candidate normative content to ensure quality is in place and identify as many substantive issues as possible in advance of the normative ballot. It also provides a QA point for other resources as we prepare for the May STU ballot. Tracker items received as a result of this ballot don't require formal resolution or change application prior to the opening of the following ballot, though work groups should do their best - prioritizing normative - to resolve what they can. Unresolved comments will carry forward but will not carry ballot weight unless someone references them in a subsequent ballot.

  • 2017-10-18 - Deadline for connectathon proposals to FMG
  • 2017-10-25 - Work groups inform the FMG of any implementation guides they'd like to ballot in Dec. cycle (strong preference to not ballot against R3 at this time unless essential for regulatory or similar reasons)
  • 2017-11-03 - Initial vocabulary proposals are due
  • 2017-11-12 - Deadline for Notice of Intent to Ballot if balloting implementation guides
  • 2017-11-15 - Work groups identify any changes (additions or removals) to the candidate list of Normative content
  • 2017-11-24 - Final vocabulary proposals are due
  • 2017-11-29 - Harmonization for the upcoming ballot cycle
  • 2017-12-03 - WG's have completed reconciliation for previous IG ballots if re-balloting an IG
  • 2017-12-10 - Substantive change freeze for core.
    • Normative candidates SHOULD have QA spreadsheet filled in and pass all QA. Related change logs should be clear. Should be no "Deferred" substantive changes
    • Any resource intended to be in R4 needs to be present in at least draft form
  • 2017-12-17 - Final freeze (including IGs)
  • 2017-12-22 - Ballot opens
  • 2018-01-22 - Ballot closes
  • 2018-01-27 - 2018-02-02: Jan WGM (New Orleans)

May 2018 Cycle

Single FHIR Core STU ballot, multiple Normative FHIR Core ballots, possible IG R4-based STU ballots

This will be the "primary" ballot for R4. The normative content will be broken up into multiple packages (likely 3) to allow some packages to pass while others are dropped to 'STU' if necessary. FMM levels will be locked prior to this ballot and content here will require reconciliation. (Balloters might reference previously submitted tracker items, including items submitted as part of the For Comment ballot.)

  • 2018-02-21 - Deadline for connectathon proposals to FMG; Deadline for resource and IG proposals that are candidates for STU in R4
  • 2018-02-14 - Last date to inform FMG of intention to ballot IGs as part of May ballot.
  • 2018-03-04 - FHIR Core substantive change freeze. IGs can still make changes. Work groups must inform product director what resources are to be treated as "draft" for this ballot (and for R4).
  • 2018-03-11 - FHIR Core content total freeze. Normative candidates SHALL have QA spreadsheet filled in and pass all QA. Normative content should have tracker items cleared and no outstanding deferred QA tracker items. QA period opens for core and IG processes
    • Note: After this date, substantive changes can only be made to artifacts and pages marked "Normative" if they are in response to a ballot comment or the artifact has been dropped from its normative package back to STU status
  • 2018-03-25 - QA changes may be applied
  • 2018-04-01 - Final content freeze - no changes except with permission of product director
  • 2018-04-06 - Ballot opens
  • 2018-05-07 - Ballot closes
  • 2018-05-12 - 2018-05-18: May WGM (Cologne)

Sept 2018 Cycle

possible Normative re-ballots, possible limited STU FHIR Core ballot, possible IG R4-based STU ballots:

The primary purpose of this cycle is to allow reballoting of packages that are eligible to pass with only minor substantive changes or where one or more resources have been dropped from the package down to STU. *If* there is a second ballot for normative issues, then work groups balloting STU core content may petition for an additional STU ballot if they've made major revisions they feel justifies an additional ballot review. However, STU publications do not require reballot for substantive change and there will be little time for reconciliation and change application prior to the publication of R4, so this option needs to be considered carefully.

  • 2018-06-06: Deadline for connectathon proposals to FMG
  • 2018-07-01: Work groups notify the FMG whether they need to reballot normative packages (due to substantive change), STU resources (due to significant refactoring) or IGs during the Sept. cycle
  • 2018-08-10: All substantive reconciliation applied. FHIR Core is frozen, limited QA process for content subject to ballot only
  • 2018-08-17: Pre-ballot (and connectathon) content freeze. Publication process begins, including ensuring that content is appropriately flagged for ballot status and there are no last minute QA issues
  • 2018-08-24: OptionalBallot opens
  • 2018-09-24: Ballot closes and initial triage occurs. Note: No substantive changes allowed for normative candidates unless they drop to STU.

R4 Publication

This will be the publication of the FHIR R4 core specification plus any implementation guides that are ready

  • 2018-09-29 - 2018-10-05: October WGM (Baltimore).
  • 2018-10-14: Final reconciliation packages posted for 2nd and 3rd ballots
  • 2018-11-01: Substantive content freeze for core R4 publication including all substantive QA changes. Decision based on vote results and withdrawals about which normative packages to drop to STU. Implementation guides publishing as part of R4 may continue to make substantive changes.
  • 2018-11-11: Final content freeze for R4 publication and start of QA period. No changes permitted for FHIR Core without product director permissions. Implementation Guides may update based on their QA processes
  • 2018-11-25: QA period closes, QA change application begins
  • 2018-12-02: FHIR core and FHIR IGs are all locked. No further changes without product director permission
    • Finalization of FMM levels, final internal publication clean-up, publication process, TSC publication approval
  • ~2018-12-15: Publication of R4

The world rejoices, Grahame sleeps

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