Health care is increasingly turning to technology to help improve systems and processes to benefit patients and their health. Ongoing efforts supported by governing agencies and standards committees are responding to the demonstrated need through standards that allow for seamless integration of patient information between systems.
By adopting structured data sets, agnostic systems will be better equipped to share and accept data elements that will improve the accuracy of patient information. Furthermore, standardizing data enables information to be combined with other data sources used to evaluate clinical outcomes.
Currently, it is common that a single data element is used to capture both sex and gender information, often assuming these two items are one unified idea. The Gender Harmony model describes an approach that can improve data accuracy for sex and gender information in health care systems. The HL7 Informative Document - Gender Harmony-Modeling Sex and Gender representation, proposes the independent consideration of sex and gender, and the assessment of their differences to promote the health of women, men and people of diverse gender identities of all ages, avoiding systematic errors that generate results with a low validity in clinical studies.
A consultive process has produced The HL7 Cross Paradigm Implementation Guide, which was published in September 2023. This specification reflects the clinical end user needs on balance with contributors from 2SLGBTQIA+ organizations such as Fenway Health and active participants with lived experience from the United States and Canada. Vendors were included from Japan, Germany, India, and the United States.