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3M tech pushes for health care industry interoperability

23 May 2012

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3M Health Information Systems has opened access to its 3M Healthcare Data Dictionary under an agreement with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). According to the company, the 3M Healthcare Data Dictionary (HDD) will provide the core technology to enable semantic interoperability for the joint DoD/VA integrated Electronic Health Record (iEHR).

The technology, the company revealed, will make it possible to share medical knowledge and secure patient data between care providers at U.S. military treatment facilities located around the world and VA Medical Centers. Access to actionable clinical information whenever and wherever care is delivered will enable safer, better coordinated and higher quality care for the country's 32 million veterans, active service members and their families, added 3M.

Healthcare industry stakeholders could also benefit, as the agreement makes the 3M HDD software and terminology content openly available to hospitals, health systems, physician practices, payers, vendors and public health agencies worldwide.

The 3M HDD has been built by incorporating and linking terms from multiple clinical information systems and standard terminologies such as LOINC, RxNorm and SNOMED CT. It maps disparate medical terms to give data context and meaning, and is used to standardize data to make it interoperable and computable. Designed to be flexible and extensible, the 3M HDD's concept-based controlled vocabulary and knowledge base have been continuously expanded and maintained for nearly two decades, the company said.

Open access to the 3M HDD for U.S. healthcare providers will help accelerate implementation of electronic health records and help healthcare organizations achieve meaningful use standards established by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The 3M HDD enables clinical queries and analytics, and organizes healthcare data to support requirements under meaningful use. It provides the foundation for enhancing healthcare analytics, decision support and business intelligence.

Registration and complete information for accessing the 3M HDD is available at the HDD Access web site,

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