Health Level Seven (HL7) Clinical Context Object Workgroup (CCOW)

Abstract Title: Health Level Seven (HL7) Clinical Context Management (CCM) Specification by the Clinical Context Object Workgroup (CCOW)
Authors: David John Marotta
DT7 Software, L.L.C.
1000 Ednam Center, Suite 300, Charlottesville, VA 22903 U.S.A.
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Health Level Seven


The HL7 Clinical Context Management (CCM) Specification by the Clinical Context Object Workgroup (CCOW) allows clinical applications to couple, coordinate, and synchronize their clinical context at the point-of-use.

The first HL7 standard to address interoperability at the point-of-use (front-end) is the Clinical Context Management (CCM) Specification. An ANSI-approved American National Standard, the CCM Specification is a protocol for visually integrating clinical desktop applications. At the core of this specification are the Patient Link and User Link Standards.

Patient Link enables users to select the patient of interest from any application, as the means to automatically "tune" all of the applications to the same patient. Similarly, User Link grants users access to a range of applications, but only requires them to sign on once. The specification include a high level architecture that is technology-neutral as well as mappings to specific target technologies such as Active-X.

The CCM's reliance on component technology allows vendors to quickly incorporate this standard into their products or re-engineer their systems to be compliant, enabling them to maintain focus on their core competency. Providers benefit by the improved workflow efficiencies and productivity gained from quicker access to information. And, since CCM enabled applications are easier to use, they encourage clinicians to use the full breadth of their systems' functionalities, a significant benefit to vendors and providers alike.

Presenter's Biography:

David John Marotta () gained his undergraduate degree from Stanford, and his Masters in Computer Science from the University of Oregon. Marotta taught Computer Science before moving to the University of Virginia Health System in 1990. In 1999 he became the President of DT7 Software, which provides clinical information systems and integration software and consulting. He lectures and instructs for conferences, including Health Level Seven (HL7). His resume is available on line at