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California Clinical Data Project: A Case Study in the Adoption of Clinical Data Standards for Quality Improvement

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Publication Date: August 2006

Publisher(s): California HealthCare Foundation

Author(s): Walter Sujansky; Sophia Chang

Topic: Health (Health promotion)

Type: Report


During the last several years, the goal of quality improvement and the supportive role of information technology have taken center stage in national health care policy forums. To help inform these discussions, CHCF organized and funded the California Clinical Data Project (CCDP), a statewide initiative to remove barriers to the widespread and effective use of information technology to improve chronic disease care. This case study, published in the summer 2006 issue of the Journal of Healthcare Information Management, reports on the CCDP's progress in the development and widespread adoption of clinical data standards by varied and often competing stakeholders. As an initial step, the project defined precise data standards for the reporting of pharmacy claims and laboratory results. These uniform standards facilitate the flow of existing electronic clinical information into disease registries and electronic health record systems. The largest health plans, medical groups, and clinical laboratories participating in California's pay-for-performance programs are now using this standard to electronically exchange pharmacy and lab results data. Lessons learned from this project may apply to the development and adoption of data standards for other states and locales, and for the emerging national health information infrastructure.