New ASTM International Standard Defines Conventions for Health Care Records in the Workplace

ASTM International Committee E31 on Healthcare Informatics has approved a new standard that will aid in defining the application of existing conventions for the structure and content of electronic health record systems that are used to support healthcare practitioners in a workplace setting. The standard, E 2473, Guide for the Occupational/Environmental Health View of the Electronic Health Record, is under the jurisdiction of Subcommittee E31.19 on Electronic Health Record Content and Structure.

The conventions described in E 2473 are consistent with the American National Standards Institute/American Dental Association Clinical Concept Data Model 2005, which identified the major data entities that need to be included.

"The electronic health record has many aspects," says Mark Diehl, chair, Subcommittee E31.19 on Electronic Health Records "It contains core personal information about a person’s immediate health conditions, course of care information, and other aspects. Among the information it contains is that which is specific to the health effects that a person’s occupation, working conditions and living conditions have on their health conditions."

Information contained in the health record can be presented to patients and care providers on the computer screen or on paper documents and can also be transmitted to other persons or systems on an authorized "need to know" basis. The standard also deals with the need for privacy and confidentiality of records that are kept in the work setting.

Among the most important aspects of E 2473 is its interoperability, which makes it easier for information to be shared. "Interoperability is an emphasis of the U.S. Federal Government’s health informatics initiatives, and this standard contributes towards achieving an interoperability of occupational and environmental data," says Diehl. "Where messaging standards specify how to communicate data, this standard identifies what information is needed and how it should be represented."

For further technical information, contact Arden Forrey, University of Washington School of Dentistry, Seattle, Wash. (phone: 206/616-1875; or Mark Diehl, CSC Global Health Solutions, Frederick, Md. (phone: 301/624-1779; For committee membership or meeting details, contact Daniel Smith, ASTM International (phone: 610/832-9727;


Release #7293

January 1, 2006