Skip to end of metadata
Go to start of metadata

Standards with an approved request to Publish and which have been Published:

Standard Type Lifetime:

Normative: default is 5 years, reaffirmation for 5 year continuations

STU: default is 2 years, TSC extension request for additional year(s)

Informative: default is 5 years, reaffirmation for 5 year continuations

Withdrawn: the end state of published specifications that are not reaffirmed or extended.

All published standards will remain accessible from HL7 in perpetuity.

Prior to the end of a standard’s lifetime (1 year for Normative and Informative, and 6 months for STU), HQ will advise the owning Work Group of the upcoming end of lifetime so that Work Groups may extend or reaffirm as and if required.

At the natural end of the lifetime, and if the standard is neither reaffirmed nor extended, the standard is automatically withdrawn and the state of the standard in the online standards catalogue is changed to Retired.

Automatic comment ballot goes out two cycles before the expiration date. 

Ending lifetime:

Prior to the end of the lifetime, including any extensions, if the Work Group intends to withdraw a standard then it must hold a Withdrawal Ballot. This must meet the appropriate ballot-level quorum and approval levels.  Then the Work Group completes a Withdrawal Request, seeking TSC approval to withdrawal the standard. A successful withdrawal will result in the state of the standard in the online standards catalogue being changed to Retired.

Sponsoring WG consults with cosponsor and submits a withdrawal form to the TSC.

Specifications which have not been Published:

For candidate standards which have been balloted, a Work Group may pass a motion to withdraw the work and forward a Withdrawal Request to TSC for approval, listing the reasons, impact on the balloting community, and the location of archive material. Upon approval the ballot pool will be notified and the candidate standard will have its state changed to Archived and not appear in the standards catalog.                            

For candidate standards which have not been balloted, the process and result is similar, except that there is no ballot pool to be notified.

Publication Requests

Publication of an updated standard will require an indication of which versions are to be withdrawn. In the absence of guidance from the WG, prior versions of a standard will be retired when a new version is published.

An additional question is to be added to the publication request indicating whether the publication of the standard should NOT result in the automatic withdrawal of any prior and currently active (non-retired) versions of the standard, and with supporting rationale.

Changing the State of a Retired Standard

For a retired Normative Standard, the retired version shall be re-balloted.

For STU and Informative Standards, the retired version's state will be changed to stable or active with TSC approval.


The vitality process is the review of non-withdrawn, published standards by WGs to determine the state of further development of the standard, which is expressed as the “current state” WGs should perform an annual review of the standards listed in the Master Grid of Products (Product Grid) that they are responsible for to determine if a state change is appropriate. The sponsoring WG is responsible for maintaining the state of the standard. Where cosponsors are present, sponsoring WGs shall confer with the cosponsors.

State definitions are available here: Characteristics of Standards Categories

The table below shows the combinations of Standards Levels and allowed States.

Standard Level: The level of ballot rigor to which the publication has been reviewed (Informative, STU, Normative)

Standard State: Reflects the guidance on the current applicability and expected future maintenance of the specification (active, stable, retired)

                                 Processes which trigger a state transition:

Standard Level/Current State






Committee Decision




Committee Decision




Committee Decision


Need to align the Characteristics of Standards Categories with this policy.

  • No labels