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Magazines & Newsletters / ASTM Standardization News


March/April 2008

Retail Health Care Provider Puts CCR into Practice


In 2008, more than a million medical records will travel from one pharmacy chain’s clinics to patients’ primary caregivers, or medical homes, using ASTM International E 2369, Specification for Continuity of Care Record.

Retail health care provider MinuteClinic, a Minneapolis-based subsidiary of CVS Caremark Corp., which provides quick diagnoses and treatment of common illnesses, implemented the standard in its technology last year.

Today MinuteClinic converts CCRs into PDF documents, which are mailed or faxed to primary caregivers’ offices and shared with patients. MinuteClinic is collaborating with several organizations to create trusted, secure electronic exchanges for these records.

MinuteClinic Chief Information Officer Cris Ross, an ASTM International member since 2006, says that the CCR standard is important. “We have been sending visit summaries of our patients to their medical homes for seven years, but getting to a standard helps in a couple of ways. One is the consistency of what should be in the message from a clinical perspective. Critically, and most important, is that a standard like this creates the opportunity to build exchange mechanisms to get data back and forth.”

Changing to the CCR standard made sense for MinuteClinic, according to Ross. “The standard is well-designed, well-defined. Given the maturity of the CCR standard and the support by the American Academy of Family Physicians, it was obvious for us that we should move aggressively in adopting the CCR standard,” he says. Plus, implementing the standard did not present a huge challenge, rather, the conversion into extensible markup language came about relatively quickly.