The PDF/H standard for healthcare

By Leon Liang, Marketing Research Analyst

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PDF/H = Portable Document for Healthcare

Various PDF subsets exist to cater to specific industry use. PDF/H – a best practice guide introduced in 2008 – provides a format that is designed for the healthcare industry. It introduces standards for inputting, displaying, and sharing medical data.

Why PDF/H?

There has to be a set standard that makes it easy for patient and doctors to share medical information. The standard also has to take factors like security and privacy into account. Furthermore, it also needs to satisfy provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). One of the mandates, after all, requires strict compliance when it comes to the handling of protected health information.

PDF/H is a stepping stone in this direction. While it’s not an official standard, it does lay the groundwork for the migration of paper health records to PDF format. It is already adopted by various clinics for managing sensitive medical records.

Furthermore, PDF/H also borrowed some of its guidelines and standards from the non-profit health record service Dossia.

PDF/H at a glance

Under PDF/H guidelines, embedded JavaScript and XFA forms are used to combine pdf documents with XML data. In one test, PDF/H standards were put into practice using medical forms from the American Academy of Pediatrics. By following PDF/H guidelines, users were able to present the forms complete with its XML data for web display and printing. This was made possible without the aid of complex applications and user interfaces.

Every industry needs standards, which are even more critical in a sector that oversees the health and well-being of its patients. When it comes to electronic recordkeeping, it is especially imperative that medical staff have a uniform standard for maintaining, sharing, and producing health documents and records.

Fortunately, with PDF/H as a guide and the latest PDF systems like Foxit Reader and ConnectedPDF, personnel can handle records in a safe, secure, and efficient manner.


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