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Vocabulary Facilitator Guide

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This document describes the roles and responsibilities of Vocabulary Facilitators in the HL7 standards development process, including:

  • maintenance of HL7 terminology model components and content
  • advice to domain workgroups in HL7 on Good Vocabulary Practices
  • serve as the liaison between domain workgroups and the vocabulary workgroup


  1. A facilitator can be nominated by either the Vocab TC or the domain TC, but must be approved by the co-chairs of both committees.

Training (as time permits)

  1. Attend all of the vocabulary tutorials offered by HL7. (HL7 has waived the fee for the tutorials for facilitators.)
    1. Vocabulary I – Terminologies and classifications (Chris Chute)
    2. Vocabulary II – Terminologies and clinical data (Jim Cimino)
    3. Vocabulary III – HL7 Vocab TC, V3 data coded data types, CTS (Harold Solbrig, Stan Huff)
    4. LOINC terminology
    5. SNOMED terminology
  2. Practical sessions during vocabulary facilitator’s meeting
    1. How to add, delete and modify new value sets for RIM harmonization
      1. How to make submissions for:
        1. HL7 maintained vocabularies
        2. External vocabularies
    2. How to register terminologies for HL7 use
    3. Good vocabulary practices
      1. How to use Class code and “small code”
    4. Guidance for technical committees on value set adoption
    5. How to view and walk terminology in RoseTree and other tools and publications
    6. How to constrain domains and value sets in R-MIM
    7. Training on vocabulary approval process, especially for realm and context specific value sets
    8. How the vocabulary facilitator role interacts with MnM facilitator role
    9. Training on RIM harmonization process and the role of vocabulary

Ongoing Responsibilities

  1. Attend all scheduled vocabulary facilitator’s meetings. These sessions are held during the regular Working Group meetings and are usually scheduled for one half day.
  2. Attend the meetings of their designated Domain Technical Committee (PAFM, OO, Patient Care, Financial Management, etc.) when vocabulary issues are to be discussed.
    1. Act as a expert resource to the technical committees on vocabulary and terminology principles and issues.
    2. Assist the committee with the selection of value sets for use in coded attributes referenced in R-MIMs, CMETs, HMDs, and Message Types.
    3. Guidance about how value sets are selected following the Good Vocabulary Practices Document and the Guidance to TC document (future), and how to build a new value sets.
    4. Contact vocabulary system experts as needed for support in a specific subject or domain.
    5. Make technical committee aware of official vocabulary policies and procedures.
    6. Report back to the Vocabulary TC any issues raised in discussions in the domain TC.
  3. Educate domain TC’s about how to use their vocabulary facilitator.
  4. Prepare and submit value set additions to the HL7 vocabulary tables. The tools are available for making these submissions.
  5. Attend the RIM harmonization meeting to explain and defend vocabulary submissions. (We should make it possible to attend via teleconference.)
  6. Coordinate value set creation with the Modeling and Methodology facilitator to insure that the vocabulary and the model (R-MIMs, CMETs, HMDs, and Message Types) form a consistent whole.
  7. For proposed use of external code systems, determine the licensing restrictions and copyright.
    • e.g. for standards citing SNOMED CT codes, include:
      This material may include SNOMED Clinical Terms® (SNOMED CT®) which is used by permission of the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation (IHTSDO). All rights reserved. SNOMED CT®, was originally created by The College of American Pathologists. “SNOMED” and “SNOMED CT” are registered trademarks of the IHTSDO. Use of SNOMED CT content is subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the SNOMED CT Affiliate License Agreement. For more information on the license, including how to register as an Affiliate Licensee, please refer to
  8. Be aware of how vocabulary choices will affect localization of the standard within specific realms