CCR Files: Continuity of Care Record Standard

Continuity of Care Record (CCR) is a computing standard used to create extended support for electronic patient information accessible with various medical applications. CCR documents are created in XML formatting paving ways for other applications to render CCR files freely. Web browsers, word processors, and third party provided CCR readers are just few examples of common day-to-day applications used to read contexts of CCR documents, and making them human readable. Moreover, since CCR files are formatted in XML, these documents can be exported as PDF files allowing PDF software to read its contexts. Printouts of such documents may also be acquired for physical storage purposes.

The creation of the standard is a product of the unified efforts of ASTM International and Massachusetts Medical Society, among other contributors to the project. CCR is a portable file format that makes medical documents encoded using the standards available to other forms of systems such as EMR and EHR. The portability of CCR documents bridges the gap of different applications when sharing information among healthcare providers while maintaining the enforced security and integrity of the shared information. Since its development, healthcare application providers have started to consider support for CCR files.

The XML schema of CCR contains medical data such as patient’s name, applied medications, allergies, previous treatment, laboratory results, and therapy among others. With all these information intact in a single document, doctors attending patients recommended by other medical experts will no longer find it a troublesome procedure to check for the patient’s medical history.

Google Health and Microsoft HealthVault have claimed support for CCR files on their systems. Patients wanting to update their health information on these systems can easily upload their CCR documents for instant update. Aside from the two applications, other medical facilities are also able to support files with CCR formats.

Additionally, with the growing popularity of smart phones, application makers for these gadgets have begun to consider developing software products that can render CCR files on portable devices. This could mean that devices such as the Apple iPhone and other leading smartphones may soon have portable CCR readers built on them.