CCR Compliance  
What is CCR?

The CCR, or Continuity of Care Record, is a specification for a subset of patient information that encapsulates current and the most relevant facts about a patientís condition. It may also include other details such as advance directives and care plan recommendations. The CCR is normally generated by the healthcare provider at the end of an encounter or session, regardless of the clinical setting, and handed over to the patient on paper or in a digital format. It can also be sent to the patient or their healthcare provider through email as an encrypted file. This ensures continuity of care as patients move from physician to physician or in case they are referred or transferred to another facility. The future providers would have ready access to patientís basic and important health information resulting in improved quality of care.

The extensible markup language (XML) is the recommended format for structuring CCR information. By the virtue of XML, the information would be both human readable and computer interpretable at the same time. In simplistic terms, the information contained within a CCR will be XML data conforming to a specific schema. And as such, that information would not only be importable into a clinical system but also exchangeable between otherwise incompatible clinical systems.

Sponsored by ASTM International, the Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS), the Health Information Management and Systems Society (HIMSS), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and several other organizations, the ASTM E31 Committee on Healthcare Informatics approved the CCR standard in April 2004.

How is this relevant to my purchase of an EMR system?

Any practitioner who is considering acquiring an EMR should also take into consideration the vendor or systemís ability to generate CCR visit or clinical summaries. A CCR compliant EMR would:

  • Create files for patients:
    Healthcare providers are expected to handover CCRs to patients at the end of episodes. Therefore an EMR system is required of being capable of creating CCR files for this purpose.

  • Make interoperability possible:
    In case it is a digital file, the CCR standard allows patient information to be easily imported and exported among EMR applications. This makes possible transfer of vital patient clinical information from one EMR system to another much easier than it is now.

  • What can I expect of UniChartsô EMR?

    UniChartsô EMR ONC-ATCB version is CCR compliant to the full extent. It allows users to generate CCR in both printable and digital format as needed. In case of generating digital CCR XML, it automatically encrypts the resulting file using the user supplied password so that it is safe and ready for transmission over unencrypted network connections and regular email services.

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