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Owning committee name

Orders & Observations WG

Interested Work Groups

  • All

FHIR Resource Development Project Insight ID


Scope of coverage


The observation resource covers simple as well as complex assertions and measurements made about a patient, specimen, device or other subject.

Fundamentally, observations can be as simple as name/value pair assertions with little structure, as well as observations nested within other observations to represent a rich and complex observation, although there are several resources such as DiagnosticReport to manage and represent aggregation patterns for observations. Expected uses for this resource include:

  • Vital signs: temperature, blood pressure, respiration rate
  • Laboratory Data and other Diagnostic Measures
  • Measurements emitted by Devices
  • Clinical assessments such as APGAR
  • Personal characteristics: height, weight, eye-color
  • Diagnoses (Note: track-able conditions, allergies, adverse reactions and more complex structures are handled elsewhere)
  • Social history: tobacco use, family supports, cognitive status
  • Core characteristics: pregnancy status, death assertion

RIM scope

  • ACT: Observation (ClassCode=OBS and descendants)
  • ACT: Observation (Code=ObservationType)

Resource appropriateness

Observations are a central element in healthcare, used to support diagnosis, monitor progress, determine baselines and patterns and even capture demographic characteristics.

Expected implementations

Required for CCDA. Referenced as part of DiagnosticReport.

Content sources

  • HL7 v3 Laboratory Standard - Normative
  • HL7 v2.x
  • HL7 OO Specimen DAM Project

Example Scenarios

Resource Relationships

  • Order
  • DiagnosticOrder
  • DiagnosticReport
  • ImagingStudy
  • Problem


  • Vote by WG (Ready for ballot): July 2013
  • Ballot: September 2013

gForge Users

  • Lorraine Constable
  • Patrick Loyd


  1. Need to explicitly define the difference between this and: Alert, AllergyIntolerance, AdverseReaction, Condition, DeviceObservation, OperationOutcome and Questionaire
  2. Need the RIM scope to exclude the content for Alert, AllergyIntolerance, etc.
  3. Should be looking at OpenEHR too. National projects?
  4. Need to provide a description for all "related" resources - related how?
  5. Need to add example scenarios