California Clinical Data Project: CALINX Standards

This initiative will improve the quality, safety, and efficiency of care by promoting the integration of clinical data at the point of care. Uniform standards have been developed for pharmacy (CALINX Rx) and laboratory (CALINX Lab) data.

March 2011

The California Clinical Data Project, also known as CALINX, is a collaborative effort of industry stakeholders to develop and implement laboratory and pharmacy data standards throughout California to facilitate data integration of clinical information systems. This project improves chronic care by promoting access to, and integration of, clinical data at the point of care. 

Background

Most health care providers find it difficult to obtain timely and accurate clinical information about patients who receive health care services from a variety of sources, such as hospitals, emergency rooms, pharmacies, and laboratories. While information technology can be used as a tool to help providers and patients navigate the fragmented health care delivery system, most systems used by these entities do not share a common language and are unable to easily and efficiently exchange clinical information. As a result, clinicians often find themselves without all the information needed to make the best treatment decisions for patients, especially those with chronic conditions.

In the spring of 2004, members of the California health care community responded to this problem by establishing the California Clinical Data Project, which is being approached in two phases: Setting Standards and Implementing Standards. When applied across health care entities, such standards and rules increase the interoperability of health information technology systems, boost efficiency by avoiding duplication of data entry (and error), and provide clinicians with greater access to timely information at the point of care.

CALINX has addressed these problems through a statewide consensus process. Rather than designing new standards, CALINX started with nationally accepted HL7 formats, LOINC lab vocabulary, and NCPDP prescription standards, and then added a uniform implementation manual, agreed-upon business rules, and software tools to assist with adoption. The commitment of all stakeholder groups ensured that the data were uniform.

Benefits of CALINX

The implementation of CALINX standards provides these important benefits to participating organizations:

  • Data from all participating sources are in the same format and vocabulary;
  • Agreed-upon business rules ensure data arrive on a regular schedule;
  • Potential to automate data improves staff efficiency;
  • More timely and accurate data;
  • Improved credibility with physicians; and
  • Responsiveness to pay for performance, quality reporting, and proactive disease management or population management programs.

Implementation Status

CALINX pharmacy and laboratory standards have been endorsed by over 26 organizations, including laboratories, hospitals, provider organizations, and commercial and Medi-Cal health plans.

As of March 2011, close to 60 organizations have implemented the CALINX pharmacy standards and 38 have either begun or are in the process of implementing the CALINX laboratory standards.

Initiated by the California HealthCare Foundation, the project as of late 2007 is being managed by the Integrated Healthcare Association (IHA).

All documents and software files pertaining to the CALINX standards have been moved to the IHA Web site, available through the External Link below. You can also find out more about the oversight committee, list of endorsers, rules of exchange, and the growing list of organizations using the CALINX standards.