Objectives: To promote healthcare information exchange between providers and to allow hospital information systems (HIS) export information in standardized format (HL7 and DICOM) in an environment of widespread legacy systems, which only can export data in proprietary format. Methods: Through the Shizuoka prefecture EMR project in 2004-2005, followed by the ministry's SS-MIX project, many software products have been provided, which consist of 1) a standardized storage to receive HL7 v2.5 mes sages of patient demographics, prescription orders, laboratory results, and diagnostic disease in ICD-10, 2) a referral letter creation system, 3) a formatted document creation system, 4) a progress note/nursing record system, and 5) an archive/viewer to incorporate incoming healthcare data CD and allow users to view on HIS terminal. Meanwhile, other useful applications have been produced, such as adverse event reporting and clinical information retrieval. To achieve the above-mentioned objectives, these software products were created and propagated, because users can use these software products, provided that their HIS can export the above information to the standardized storage in HL7 v2.5 format. Results: In 20 hospitals of Japan, the stand - ardized storage has been installed and some applications have been used. As major HIS vendors are shipping HIS with HL7 export function since 2007, HIS of 594 hospitals in Japan became capable of exporting data in HL7 v2.5 format (as of March 2010). Conclusions: In high CPOE installation rate (85% in 400+ bed hospitals), though most of them only capable of exporting data in proprietary format, prefecture and ministry projects were effective to promote healthcare information exchange between providers. The standardized storage became an infrastructure for many useful applications, and many hospitals started using them. Ministry designation of proposed healthcare standards was effective so as to allow vendors to conform their products, and users to install them.
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