Careful planning in the initial stage is crucial for successful completion of the reference set development and onwards use of the reference set. Following considerations should be included in any reference set development process.
Determine the resources available for developing and maintenance of the reference set.
Dependencies of the reference set
Reference set type
What type of reference set is required?
Developing a new reference set requires a broad skillset, so it should be determined who will develop the reference set. Each of the steps related to developing reference sets can involve a range of people in different roles, a number of interdependent activities and a suite of related documents and artifacts. It is important to understand the characteristics of the people involved and their roles across the stages in the reference set lifecycle.
Development approach and methods
What approach should be taken to develop the reference set?
What tools should be used to support reference set development, distribution and maintenance process?
Determine when the reference set should be ready for routine use, i.e. schedule deadlines for the difference phases of the development process.
What level of quality is required for the reference set? E.g. is the reference set used to represent safety critical information for patients, or is the reference set used to form broader categories of patient groups. It should be determined how the required level of quality is obtained and ensured throughout the development process.
How will the reference set be distributed? Answering this question will depend very much on who the authors of the reference set is and where the reference set going to be used. If the reference set is used as a national reference set, i.e. a reference set which is used across a range of hospitals or organizations, distribution is likely to be done via a central service. Locally defined reference sets, e.g. used as part of configuring an EHR is likely to be managed and distributed from a local terminology storage environment and integrated directly to the system.
How, who and when to integrate the reference set into the environment where it is going to function? Decide on an approach to integration and determine what bindings and/or integration tasks to be performed.
Will new versions of the reference set be integrated regularly or as in integrated part of a greater maintenance process together with other software/terminology artefacts?