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Relationships with other Organizations / Initiatives

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SNOMED-HL7 collaboration

An improving SNOMED-HL7 relationship with closer technical collaboration might help in several areas.

HL7-OMG Services Initiative

Recognizing the need for specifications for services to support healthcare IT as part of national infrastructures (such as US NHII and Australia’s HealthConnect), Health Level Seven and the Object Management Group have forged an agreement to collaborate to the advantage of the health domain sector.

Terminology Services are a natural fit with this initiative, and as such, has been selected as a likely candidate for implementation. Recognizing the significant effort surrounding defining and implementing the CTS Specification as a Terminology Service, the HL7-OMG Services Initiative has selected to align CTS with the HL7 Development Framework (HDF).

During some discussions with Ken Rubin in Noordwijkerhout, it was suggested that the HL7-OMG Services Vocabulary group join forces with the CTSII effort hosted by the Vocabulary Technical Committee. This approach seems to fit, since many of us are interested in service specification development anyways, which is exactly the effort going on in the CTSII project.

The CTS specification, which is called the Common Terminology Services (CTS), defines a set of interfaces that can be used to discover and query terminology content. The scope of the CTS specification was limited to (a) read-only use cases and (b) only the use cases that were necessary to satisfy near-term HL7 requirements.

The Vocabulary Technical Committee of HL7 is now initiating a second phase of this specification. Under the rubric CTS II, this specification is intended to be a logical extension of the initial CTS specification with the purpose of accommodating many of the use cases excluded from the initial specification.

The Vocabulary Technical Committee is currently soliciting input from interested parties or organizations regarding the requirements, scope and technology that should be included or excluded from this specification.

What is Envisioned
What we see happening is that the Vocab TC's CTSII effort and the HL7-OMG Vocab Group will merge effort under the name of CTSII. This CTSII group will make use of, and feed into the Services Infrastructure group, by evaluating and providing feedback into the processes and infrastructure developed by the Services Infrastructure group. This is a natural fit for the Vocabulary TC, in that the expertise is already there and the work is underway. This will also allow the CTSII group to focus on Terminology Services development, and not on infrastructure development (as was required with the original version of CTS.) To the services project, the effort will continue to align with the methodology and infrastructure, and leverage the OMG relationship. The only difference really is where the "hosted" activity is occurring.

The CTSII conference call are scheduled every other Monday, Starting March 21, 2005. Ending July 25th. The next call is on Monday May 16th at 1600-1700 Eastern Time. Agenda to be announced shortly. Dial in details can be found on the CTSII WIKI at

Other standards bodies

In principle I would be in favour of adopting this specification as a future ISO standard. However I think it is not appropriate at this time to promote such a standard as a fast track action. Fast track in my view is only appropriate for matured work from other groups. As discussions in HL7 have started on a CTS2, and because the specification has hardly been implemented around the world, I presently do not yet see much reason for adoption by ISO of this work.