The article The organizer element, describes the usage and XML syntax of the clinical act statement named organizer, which is used in CDA documents to group together other, related clinical act statements, such as observation elements.

In C-CDA, there are five entry templates that are applied to organizer clinical act statements. These templates all have the word “Organizer” in their name:

  • Results Organizer
  • Vital Signs Organizer
  • Cognitive Status Result Organizer
  • Functional Status Result Organizer
  • Family History Organizer

All Five Organizer Templates are Similar
All five of these “organizer templates”, share the same XML hierarchy characteristics. All five of them are nested directly inside a section template (Results Section, Vital Signs Section, Functional Status Section, and Family History Section). All five of them then support within them, a single entry template – that is applied to an observation clinical act statement (Results Observation, Vital Signs Observation, Cognitive Status Result Observation, Functional Status Result Observation, and Family History Observation).

What if There is Only One Observation?
A common question that is asked regarding all five of these templates is: “what happens if there is only one observation?”. It seems like unnecessary overhead to use an “organizing list” structure for a single item. Lists of one are not that interesting as “lists”…

The answer, however, is that the organizer template must always be used in all five of these contexts. It is not allowed to place an observation element directly in the section template, without an intervening organizer.

As explained in The organizer element, in the section of the article titled “More Than Just a List of Acts”, the organizer element is a clinical act statement in its own right. Although its primary purpose is to organize its contained “list” of clinical act statements (such as observations), it has some independent value as well.

Similar Situation With Concern Acts
In Is a single allergy or problem observation wrapped in a concern act?, a similar issue is addressed about the use of a concern act to “wrap” problem or allergy observation elements in the Problem Section or Allergy Section, even when each concern act contains only a single observation.

However, while the use of concern acts is subject to some debate (as noted in the article Is a single allergy or problem observation wrapped in a concern act?), in the case of “organizer templates”, it is broadly accepted that the organizer must be used – and it is an absolute requirement in C-CDA.

Other CDA PRO Know Articles Referenced In This Article