Continuity of Care Record Is Developed by ASTM International Health Care Informatics Committee

A revolutionary new ASTM International standard will change the way in which healthcare professionals preserve and transfer healthcare information about their patients. The standard, E 2369, Specification for Continuity of Care Record (CCR), was developed by Subcommittee E31.28 on Electronic Health Records, which is under the jurisdiction of Committee E31 on Healthcare Informatics.

The Continuity of Care Record 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.

During the past two years, U.S. President George W. Bush has called for greater interoperability of electronic medical records and personal health records. E 2369 represents a major step forward in assisting vendors and healthcare organizations in their search for simple, yet powerful tools that will help meet the president’s objectives.

Eleven sponsoring organizations have supported the efforts of Subcommittee E31.28 throughout this process: the Massachusetts Medical Society, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the Patient Safety Institute, the American Health Care Association, the National Association for the Support of Long-Term Care, the Mobile Healthcare Alliance, the Medical Group Management Association and the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians.

"The wide range of sponsors for the CCR initiative demonstrates its uniqueness as well as its strength," note CCR task group co-chair Claudia Tessier. "Clinicians, both individually and through their membership organizations, have been the main drivers of the CCR. Through them we have identified the most relevant patient information to be shared among providers. Thus, they and their patients will be its main beneficiaries."

One of the sponsoring organizations, the American Academy of Family Physicians has launched Project Continuity of Care, an initiative designed to raise awareness of E 2369, to develop and deploy field-capable CCR-compatible software applications and tools, and to accelerate integration of the CCR into existing electronic health record software.

"We now have the CCR standard, an affordable technology for capturing a patient’s most relevant health information and making it personal, private and portable," said Douglas E. Henley, M.D., executive vice president of the AAFP, in announcing Project Continuity of Care. "Our aim is to provide physicians and other caregivers with access to this summary medical information when and where it is needed, and to give patients the assurance they deserve that they won’t suffer in an emergency because of lack of information about their personal illnesses or treatment plans."

The ASTM standards development process and membership on Committee E31 is open to all interested parties.

For further technical information, contact Claudia Tessier, Mobile Healthcare Alliance (MoHCA), Washington, D.C. (phone: 202/352-3019; For committee membership or meeting details, contact Daniel Smith, ASTM International (phone: 610/832-9727;


Release #7292

January 1, 2006