Most digital health information systems (electronic health records) store sex and gender information as if they are the same thing. This practice has led to inappropriate and harmful care to some patients and to patients avoiding the healthcare system. In recent years, there have been efforts to modernize digital health information systems by changing how gender, sex and sexual orientation (GSSO) data are recorded in these systems. The Gender Harmony Project is one such effort to modernize the HL7 international messaging standards. Digital health information systems use HL7 standards when they share health information with each other.
This fall the Gender Harmony HL7 Implementation Guide will be open for community comments and voting (ballot). HL7 Canada is asking Canadian stakeholders to review each ballot and share their opinions. Your voice is needed. Some portions of the ballot are very technical. Please review as much as you are comfortable. You don’t have to comment on everything. Of particular importance are the sections containing terms, definitions, code systems, minimum value sets, and examples.
In this round of voting, HL7 Canada has five votes for each item on the ballots. How HL7 Canada votes will depend on the comments received from the Canadian community. HL7 Canada votes as a block; meaning that if an item receives a negative comment, then all five of the HL7 Canada votes will be negative on that item. Comments must be addressed by the HL7 International organization before the release of the standards for use. After consensus is reached among voting members, the updated standards will be used by organizations and jurisdictions in Canada and globally, including hospital information systems, electronic medical record systems, laboratory information systems, patient portals, and provincial health systems.
Below are several step-by-step infographics to help you access the ballot files and submit your comments.
How to Submit Your Comments