Scottsdale, AZ and Ann Arbor, MI - April 20, 2011 - The National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP), and Health Level Seven International (HL7), co-founders of the Standards Development Organization Charter Organization (SCO), an historic collaboration among U.S. healthcare standards development organizations, announced today the SCOs new Chair, John Quinn, CTO of HL7, and its Chair Elect, Margaret Weiker, ASC X12 Insurance Subcommittee Chair and Director BES and HealthCare Payer Services of HP (Hewlett-Packard Company).

The work of the SCO dates back to 2008, when NCPDP facilitated a series of summits among executives representing the industry’s primary healthcare standards development organizations. The goal of the SCO is to facilitate the creation of industry wide, interoperable standards that will support a sustainable healthcare information technology (HIT) in the U.S.

A few of the current SCO projects examine harmonization of the publication of standards; functional gaps and overlaps in standards; and analysis of a provider registry/directory.

HL7’s Chief Technology Officer and SCO Chair John Quinn stated, “HL7 would like to thank all those at NCPDP, including John Klimek, R.Ph., Senior Vice President of Industry IT, Lynne Gilbertson, Vice President of Standards Development, and its President, Lee Ann Stember, for all of the time and effort they put into the formation and development of the SCO over the past two years.” According to Quinn, in the last two months the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has completed the staffing of all major areas of the U.S. Standards and Interoperability (S&I) Framework with the intention of providing the country with the necessary standards-based implementation specification that will be needed to meet the requirements of Meaningful Use (MU) of electronic medical record (EMR) systems between now and 2015. “The standards that ONC expects to draw on are largely represented in, and will likely be drawn from, the existing standards that have been developed by the current SCO members,” said Quinn. “For this reason, the SCO has the opportunity of providing ONC with a ‘single point of contact’ with the U.S. healthcare messaging, electronic document, electronic health record (EHR) and personal health record (PHR) functional standards, and health vocabulary standards development organizations. We expect that the work being done by the S&I Framework team has potential to increase participation in the SCO in the near future as we all become more aware of ONC's requirements."

Margaret Weiker, SCO Chair Elect, stated, “The SCO brings together the collective expertise of the leading standards development organizations. As such, we are well positioned to assist with government initiatives around the Standards and Interoperability (S&I) Framework, to ensure harmonization of standards to meet the needs of the healthcare community.”

“We made steady progress since forming the SCO in 2009 and expect the momentum to continue under the direction of John Quinn and Margaret Weiker,” stated John Klimek R.Ph., Senior Vice President of NCPDP and former Chair of the SCO. “We hope to see our efforts towards harmonizing standards gain increasing support with healthcare reform and the drive towards interoperability.”

The SCO will meet in Washington DC on April 21, 2011. Doug Fridsma, M.D., Ph.D., the Director of the Office of Standards and Interoperability at ONC, will share his vision and expectations from the U.S. standards development organization community. He will also address questions about when and how ONC will be reaching out to that community for enhancements and modifications of existing standards to meet ONC’s needs as Meaningful Use Stages 2 and 3 are developed over the next two to three years.

SCO members include: NCPDP, Health Level Seven (HL7) International, Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) X12, ASTM International, visit Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium (CDISC), Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM), American Dental Association (ADA), and Regenstrief Institute, Inc. Other standards-related entities and formal observers include Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI), American National Standards Institute (ANSI), Health Information Technology Standards Panel (HITSP), Social Security Administration (SSA), Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE), the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC), and GS1 US.

For more information on SCO projects or how to join the organization, please visit www.SCOSummit.com.

About NCPDP
Founded in 1977, NCPDP is a not-for-profit, ANSI-accredited, Standards Development Organization with over 1,600 members representing virtually every sector of the pharmacy services industry. Our diverse membership provides leadership and healthcare business solutions through education and standards, created using the consensus building process. NCPDP has been named in federal legislation, including HIPAA and the MMA. NCPDP members have created standards such as the Telecommunication Standard and Batch Standard, the SCRIPT Standard for e-Prescribing, the Manufacturers Rebate Standard and more to improve communication within the pharmacy industry. Our data services include the NCPDP Provider Identification Number, a unique identifier of over 75,000 pharmacies, and HCIdea, “The Prescriber Identity Solution”. For more information about NCPDP Standards, Data Services, Educational Programs and Work Group meetings, go online at www.ncpdp.org or call (480) 477-1000.

About HL7 International
Founded in 1987, Health Level Seven (HL7) International is the leading global authority for healthcare Information interoperability and standards with members in 55 countries. HL7 is a non-profit, 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.

About ASC X12
ASC X12, chartered by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in 1979, develops EDI standards and documents for national and global markets. With more than 315 X12 EDI standards and increasing X12 XML schemas, ASC X12 enhances business processes, reduces costs and expands organizational reach. Members include standards experts from health care, insurance, transportation, finance, government, supply chain and other industries. For additional information, visit www.x12.org.