Health Level Seven and the American Dental Association Sign Agreement to Develop Joint Healthcare IT Standard Initiatives

Ann Arbor, MI, and Chicago, IL, USA - Sept. 2, 2009 - Health Level Seven®

(HL7) and the American Dental Association (ADA) today announced they signed an Associate Charter Agreement to develop joint initiatives to harmonize healthcare informatics standards to create consistent dental IT standards in the US and enhance the coordination of patient care between medical and dental practices.

"Developing standards to harmonize dental records with electronic health records systems in the US will improve and enhance the coordination of patient care by allowing information to pass between hospitals, medical and dental offices," said Ed Hammond, PhD, board chair of HL7. "HL7 envisions consistent data collection across the complete continuum of care to enable interoperability of electronic health record systems worldwide."

Dentists are often the first healthcare providers to detect diabetes and other systemic illnesses because they are often seen more frequently than the patient's primary care physician.

"The Standards Committee on Dental Informatics (SCDI) is working to develop a smooth interface between dental and medical systems to allow a patient's physician and dentist to alert each other of healthcare issues through integrated electronic health information," said Mark Diehl, chair, SCDI Subcommittee on Electronic Health Records.

"Where there is a complex case, we want to have a dental extension to the Continuity of Care Document (CCD) to alert dentists so they know what is going on the medical side."

HL7 and ADA Joint Agreement This agreement will facilitate the following joint projects between the two organizations:

  • The Dental Continuity of Care Document (Dental CCD) implementation will promote coordination of services across medical and dental professions.
  • The Electronic Dental Record Functional Profile will ensure compatibility between electronic medical and dental systems to eliminate gaps in function and content.
  • A cross map between the ANSI/ADA and HL7's standards will allow system developers to easily build a standards-compliant database for the HL7 Reference Information Model (RIM) and Specification 1000.

The SCDI is responsible for developing and approving any dental content and functional requirements to be used in all HL7 standards that apply to the US.

"Cross mapping the RIM and Specification No. 1000 will do a lot of the mapping exercise that all of the developers would have to do in parallel," said Diehl. "Instead of doing it themselves they can use the cross mapping to save time." This will allow a developer to more easily create a relational database that is RIM compliant.

SCDI will be able to participate in the HL7 Harmonization Committee for the RIM. HL7 and SCDI support and encourage the harmonization of any information model with the HL7 RIM and the ANSI / ADA Specification No. 1000.

About Health Level Seven (HL7)

Founded in 1987, Health Level Seven, Inc. is the leading global authority for healthcare Information interoperability and standards with members in 57 countries. HL7 is a nonprofit, ANSI accredited standards development organization dedicated to providing a comprehensive framework and related standards for the exchange, integration, sharing, and retrieval of electronic health information that supports clinical practice and the management, delivery and evaluation of health services. HL7's more than 2,300 members represent approximately 500 corporate members, which include more than 90 percent of the information systems vendors serving healthcare. HL7 collaborates with other standards developers and provider, payer, philanthropic and government agencies at the highest levels to ensure the development of comprehensive and reliable standards and successful interoperability efforts. For more information, please visit:

About the American Dental Association

The American Dental Association (ADA) is the foremost professional association of dentists committed to the public's oral health, ethics, science and professional HL7 and ADA Joint Agreement advancement; leading a unified profession through initiatives in advocacy, education, research and the development of standards. The ADA is a non-profit, voluntary, organization accredited by the American National Standards Institute as a standards developing organization (SDO). The Standards Committee on Dental Informatics (SCDI) is the standards committee of the ADA that creates standards for dental informatics.

The ADA Standards Committee on Dental Informatics promotes interoperability for the benefit of patients and the professional through the development of dental informatics standards that focus on acquisition, organization, storage, seamless exchange, privacy, security, and the utilization of health informatics.

The ADA develops standards for dental informatics through the ADA Standards Committee on Dental Informatics (SCDI). The scope of the SCDI is to promote patient care and oral health through the application of information technology to dentistry's clinical and administrative operations; to develop standards, specifications, technical reports, and guidelines for: components of a computerized dental clinical workstation; electronic technologies used in dental practice; and interoperability standards for different software and hardware products which provide a seamless information exchange throughout all facets of healthcare. For information about ADA and the SCDI, please visit: