ASTM CCR Successfully Balloted

For over two years, clinicians and technical experts have been working with ASTM International and nine co-sponsoring organizations to develop the most needed standard in healthcare. The Continuity of Care Record (CCR) is a core dataset to be sent to the next healthcare provider whenever a patient is referred, transferred, or otherwise uses different clinics, hospitals, or other providers. The CCR will bring an end to physicians and other healthcare professionals having to act "blindly," without easy access to relevant patient information. It will provide the necessary information to support continuity of care, thus reducing medical errors, achieving higher efficiency, and creating better quality of care. Additionally, this represents a major step forward to assist vendors and healthcare organizations searching for simple, yet powerful tools to promote the interoperability of electronic medical records and personal health records called for by the President of the United States during the past two years.

The ASTM International E31 Healthcare Informatics Committee and E31.28 Electronic Health Record Subcommittee met on June 8, 2005, in Washington, D.C. to resolve outstanding issues from the most recent CCR ballot cycle. With the help and participation of volunteer E31 members from professional medical societies, nursing, private industry, and government, all of the remaining negative votes on the Standard Specification for the Continuity of Care Record (CCR) and Implementation Guide were successfully resolved. The E31.28 Subcommittee also agreed to include editorial notes and changes that will strengthen the standard and make it more easily understood. The Subcommittee agreed to develop and incorporate the editorial changes in a timeframe that would allow the final document to be submitted to ASTM International for publication by July 22, 2005, with publication targeted for mid-September 2005.

ASTM International thanks the following CCR sponsoring organizations for their tremendous support throughout this process: Massachusetts Medical Society, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association, Patient Safety Institute, American Health Care Association, National Association for the Support of Long-Term Care, and Mobile Healthcare Alliance.

The ASTM standards development process and membership on Committee E31 is open to all interested parties. To join, visit the ASTM website at, click "membership," then "Join ASTM International" and complete the on-line application. Be sure to indicate that you want to join the E31 Committee on Healthcare Informatics and the E31.28 Subcommittee on Electronic Health Record. The cost is $75.00 per year for which you receive a free Volume of ASTM Standards (E31 Standards are found in Volume 14.01). If you select the Virtual Volume Format, you will have access to not only the existing standards, but also new standards as they are approved and revisions. Contact the E31 staff manager, Dan Smith ( with questions about membership and the CCR activity.
June 1, 2005