The clinical data standards strive to define and standardize data relevant to clinical topics in cardiology, with the primary goal of assisting data collection by providing a platform of data elements and definitions applicable to various conditions. Broad agreement on a common vocabulary with reliable definitions used by all is vital to pool and/or compare data across studies to promote interoperability of electronic health records and to assess the applicability of research to clinical practice. The increasing national focus on adoption of certified electronic health records along with financial incentives for providers to demonstrate “meaningful use” of those electronic health records to improve healthcare quality render even more imperative and urgent the need for such definitions and standards. Therefore, the ACCF and AHA have undertaken to define and disseminate clinical data standards: sets of standardized data elements and corresponding definitions to collect data relevant to cardiovascular conditions. The ultimate purpose of clinical data standards is to contribute to the infrastructure necessary to accomplish the ACCF/AHA’s missions of fostering optimal cardiovascular care and disease prevention and building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke, respectively.
The specific goals of clinical data standards are
- To establish a consistent, interoperable, and universal clinical vocabulary as a foundation to both clinical care and clinical research
- To promote the ubiquitous use of electronic health records and facilitate the exchange of data across systems through harmonized, standardized definitions of key data elements
- To facilitate the further development of clinical registries, quality and performance improvement programs, outcomes evaluations, and clinical research, including the comparison of results within and across these initiatives