Driving Open Standards Development In Healthcare: A Karos Health White Paper


Karos Health truly believes in the principles of open standards. Open standards benefits the broader user community as they accelerate new application development, increase the usefulness of structured and coded data, reduce integration costs, and reduce deployment times. These benefits lead to faster adoption of new technologies and applications which drive innovation in healthcare.

The development of open standards technical specifications, however, is time consuming and expensive for standards development groups. These groups are comprised healthcare vendors, professional organizations, and healthcare providers. Open standards development requires a broad range of knowledge, expertise, and experience, from both technical and clinical backgrounds.

By Karos Health’s conviction, it is incumbent upon the vendors to actively contribute to open standards development and contribute their extensive knowledge to the broader healthcare community. Karos Health has been committed to developing and implementing open standards that promote industry collaboration. The organisation believes that vendors and healthcare enterprises must base solutions on industry standards that both accommodate legacy systems and enable future growth. This white paper provides an overview of their current involvement in developing open standards to improve patient care and clinical outcomes.


Karos Health has active representation in both the IHE Radiology Planning and Technical Committees and the IHE IT Infrastructure Technical Committees. Their representatives have been involved in IHE Radiology and IHE Cardiology domains since their inception in 1997, contributing to specifications for the very first Radiology Scheduled Workflow integration profile.

More recently, Karos Health was the primary author of the IHE Radiology White Paper “Code Mapping in IHE Radiology Profiles”. In IHE the purpose of an integration profile is to bring related DICOM, HL7, and web service transactions together to solve a specific clinical problem. However, in the real-world there are coded values and identifiers which are transcendent and must be retained across profiles.

This white paper describes how coded values, such as Requested Procedure Codes, Reason for Study, Admitting Diagnosis, and other key data, map across IHE Radiology integration profiles and transactions including Scheduled Workflow (SWF.b), Radiation Exposure Monitoring (REM), Teaching File and Clinical Export (TCE), HL7 Clinical Document Architecture (CDA) reports, and Cross Enterprise Document Sharing (XDS.b/XDS.b-I).

Karos Health has also contributed to the IHE Radiology Management of Radiology Report Templates (MRRT) integration profile, which defines a format for radiology report templates as well as a method to exchange templates between medical institutions, and is heavily utilized by the RSNA Reporting initiatives described below.

Karos Health further contributes by reviewing other profiles being developed and participating in the Change Proposal (CP) maintenance of the existing IHE Radiology Technical Framework and Supplements documents, which are comprised of over 3000 pages of documentation today.

In the coming 2014-2015 IHE Radiology development cycle, pending committee profile selection, additional efforts may include a remote/distributed radiology reading work list profile initiated through the Canada Health Infoway Standards Collaborative Working Group, clinical decision support which will include support for the U.S. CMS 2017 legislation, as well as other potential profiles.

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