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Correct anomalies in use of CODE_PHRASE and DV_CODED_TEXT

Within the reference model, there are several structural
attributes which are coded from a specified vocabulary. In some
cases, such as 'territory', 'language', and 'mime type', the
vocabulary is really just a list of codes - there are no rubrics,
and no idea of translation (i.e. within computer systems, 'jp', the
country code of Japan is 'jp' in all languages, including
japanese). These codes can be expressed in the model directly
using CODE_PHRASEs. Any attribute which is not the name of
something in the real world, but is either an acronym (e.g. "RSA")
or a self-defining word (e.g. "gzip") is in this category.
However, other structural (predefined) attributes should be
expressed as proper coded texts. Examples include
RELATED_PARY.relationship, PARTICIPATION.mode, and any other term
which should be viewable in the user interface in the local

Currently these guidelines are not followed properly: there are a
number of structural coded attributes which are expressed as a
bare CODE_PHRASE, when a DV_CODED_TEXT should be used.

Another problem is that the location of the attributes for
language and charset on DV_TEXT probably is not optimal. No-one
has a use case in which language could vary at any finer level
than Entry (since Entries are the minimum indivisible unit of
information in openEHR); it may not even be necessary to record
charset at all, if we assume Unicode UTF-8. If we assume unicode,
but the byte encoding can vary from UTF-8 to UTF-16, which could
be the case for EHRs in the US versus EHRs in China, then we still
do need to record which encoding it is.

The current list of 'structural' attributes is as follows. Starred
items are code only attributes:









Change Description

Make TERM_MAPPING.purpose optional. Convert all starred attributes in the list above to CODE_PHRASE, the rest to DV_CODED_TEXT. Define an openEHR Terminology and an access method in the Support IM specification which enables value set groups (used for the non-starred attributes above) and code sets (used for the starred attributes above) to be accessed in invariants. Remove the current method of referring to Terminology identifiers. The openEHR vocabularies for these attributes should list direct mappings to e.g. CEN, HL7 and other terms for the same concepts. This is a better approach than directly relying on the standards bodies for up to date vocabularies.

Approved By


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