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openEHR Announces Open Clinical Knowledge Manager

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The openEHR Foundation is pleased to announce the public availability of its Clinical Knowledge Manager (CKM) Web portal.

Professor David Ingram, of University College London and Chair of the openEHR Foundation Board explains “At this time of unprecedented international change, the openEHR Foundation is pleased to make publicly available this collaborative CKM environment, to allow the rich diversity of clinicians involved in informatics internationally to better collaborate towards solving the grand challenge of Health IT.”

As the healthcare industry begins to tackle the pressures of worldwide recession, the need for clinical leadership, service improvement and more efficient means of information management are increasing all the time. Across the world many clinicians are tackling information management & technology challenges in their own organisations, yet often ask “surely this has been done before” or “there must be an easier way”. Many who have been involved in leading healthcare information projects for any length of time now realise the challenges of:

  • supporting the wide variety of clinical requirements of Electronic Health Records (EHRs)
  • aligning process improvement efforts with the right EHR technology
  • linking disparate health information systems together and the complex challenge of semantic interoperability
  • making best use of health IT standards to drive both innovation and consistency of effort
  • supporting a variety of patient journeys with reusable clinical components to save time, effort and money

The openEHR Clinical Knowledge Manager offers the international clinical community the means to take ownership and control of the authoring of the key clinical components needed in electronic health record (EHR) systems. Developed by Ocean Informatics, it provides an open online collaboration environment for the design, validation and publishing of archetypes (and in future, templates and other knowledge artefacts) for subsequent use by clinical applications, EHR systems and e-Health programmes.

Clinical archetypes are formal specifications of the clinical data structures used within EHRs. Examples of archetypes include:

  • Presenting Complaint, Pulse, Blood pressure, Apgar score,
  • Medication order, Imaging request,
  • Diagnosis, Problem, Goal,
  • Followup Instruction etc.

All of which are common clinical concepts that are required across many health information systems today. The underlying model for archetypes has recently been standardized internationally by the International Organisation for Standardization (ISO). The consistent design and use of archetypes across clinical communities and countries is key to ensuring that clinical components and EHR data can be consistently shared and analysed across systems, thereby supporting evidence based clinical practice and promoting patient safety both within and across healthcare organisations.

The openEHR CKM provides a tool to enable distributed communities to draft archetypes for new areas of clinical content and to peer review draft versions prior to final publication and use. The early archetypes that have been made available in the CKM have originated from earlier informatics projects in both Australia (CIC and GPCG projects) and the United Kingdom (NHS pilot archetype work). A pilot version of the CKM has been used by the openEHR Archetype Editorial Group since early 2008.

The openEHR Foundation is now opening up this online collaborative environment to make it freely available to the international clinical community to better coordinate their health information improvement efforts, be they local, national or international in nature. This pioneering, online, Web 2.0 ready approach is the first of its kind in the world and offers the potential to help clinicians by saving time and effort and by harnessing the network effect to improve the quality of EHR development internationally.

Your interest, involvement and feedback are invited, to begin the greater collaboration in health information improvement efforts that is needed across the world today.

– Dr Tony Shannon,

(chair openEHR Clinical Review Board)

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