Process Points Volume 1, Issue 2
A newsletter for the HL7 Community, Courtesy of the HL7 Process Improvement Committee (PIC)
April Working Group Meeting, Cleveland, Ohio
What this is:
Welcome to the second edition of the Process Points—an informational and educational forum to
discuss issues of process within the HL7 community. Its goal is to provide process highlights for HL7
members to clarify, assist, and educate the membership to a more effective participation.
Who we (PIC) are…
The HL7 Process Improvement Committee is responsible for identifying areas of process concern within
HL7 and proposing and instituting solutions to those issues. We hope that you will choose to join us!
Preview of Coming Attractions:
Last time we told you that the PIC Committee was hard-at-work developing a set of Committee
Decision-making Practices. These practices, which have since been formally documented and adopted,
outline the rules that steer the committee to ensure an open participation. The practices focus on how
the committee will operate, including such matters as voting, participation-in-abstencia, expectations of
public notification, issues of quorum, and so forth.
At this stage, the Decision-making practices have been posted to the PIC website for other committees
to consider. PIC will brief the TSC this week explaining what they are and the value that they bring. At
or before the Memphis meeting, a genericized version of these will be made available to all committees
with the encouragement that every committee review the template, adjust it accordingly, and adopt a set
of practices for themselves.
Your feedback is welcomed
We want to hear from you, and appreciate your interest! Please send comments, complaints, and
suggestions to our list at email@example.com, or contact the co-chairs at:
Freida Hall firstname.lastname@example.org
Ken Rubin email@example.com
Process Improvement Committee Chooses New Logo
In an effort to improve our accessibility during working meetings, PIC has chosen a logo and produced
buttons that are being worn by its members. Feel free to approach anyone wearing a PIC member and
ask them questions about what the committee is doing or how to get
PIC Status Update: The Robert’s Rules Minute….Point of
<<one paragraph to discuss web entry of issues>>
<<one paragraph to discuss issue tracking>>
<<one paragraph on our “top four”>>
The Robert’s Rules Minute….Point of Information Scenario
This scenario is part of a short series of examples intended for HL7 committee consideration to help
educate and improve issues pertaining to process, hopefully improving people’s HL7 experiences.
Although the use of Robert’s Rules of Order is not pervasive within the HL7 community, many SIGs
and TCs rely upon portions of Robert’s Rules to carry out their daily business. The Process
Improvement committee is currently investigating alternatives to make the mechanisms by which
business is conducted across committees (while allowing committees the freedom to tailor the process to
meet their needs) more consistent.
Last month, PIC presented a scenario describing Point of Order—a mechanism by which errors
pertaining to process can be identified, raised to the chair, and corrected in non-confrontational ways.
This month, we introduce Point of Information, a sibling process that is complementary to Point of
POINT OF INFORMATION provides a mechanism for a meeting attendee to ask questions during the course
of decision-making. These questions may be related to the issue being discussed or to the process itself.
For example, if a vote is being taken an a meeting participant is unclear about exactly what is being
voted on, they may raise to a POINT OF INFORMATION and request clarification about the vote. In the
HL7 context, for instance, often times discussion about a variety of technical alternatives is held and
then a vote taken to accept the outcome, but it may be unclear exactly what that accepted outcome was.
In this case, a POINT OF INFORMATION can be raised to ask for a recap of the consensus opinion.
POINT OF INFORMATION is an incidental motion that is non-debatable and can be appropriately raised at
any time, even interrupting speech. That said, responses to a POINT OF INFORMATION are to be enough
so as to do justice to the inquirer. The key to effective use of POINT OF INFORMATION is to be pertinent
to the topic. Although this mechanism is non-debatable, it should not be over-used or misused.
Let’s consider an example where a variety of technical solutions are being discussed, and a motion has
just been made to adopt “the solution.” Normal discussion about the “pros” and “cons” of the solution
do not require points of information, and will likely come out in the normal discourse of debate. So,
using our example, let’s further suppose that we are unclear whether the solution being proposed is to
pertain to Version 2.x or Version 3 of the HL7 standard. Raising a POINT OF INFORMATION requesting
clarification whether the discussion pertains to Version 2 or Version 3 would be an appropriate use.
Similarly, a POINT OF INFORMATION asking questions about the voting process (or any other process
matters) would also be appropriate. Resulting from either of the above inquiries would be a concise,
pointed answer to the question raised, and then continuation of whatever had been occurring.
Conversely, the POINT OF INFORMATION does not provide a carte blanche to raise issues unrelated to the
mainstream discussion. In other words, one cannot use this as a means to discuss something off-topic,
revisit an unpopular decision, or the like. All POINT OF INFORMATION requests must be addressed unless
they are not pertinent.
What to do:
In the event of a question or concern, one may rise and interject “Point of Information,” followed by the
inquiry or issue requiring clarification. Note that this incidental motion can refer to any matter pertinent
to the committee at that time. A POINT OF INFORMATION can either be made openly or directed to the
What will happen:
Upon receiving a call for POINT OF INFORMATION, the committee chair will determine whether the issue
is pertinent, irrespective of their opinion of the question. For any pertinent question, the chair shall
either respond themselves or yield the question to a more appropriate person. The issue is non-
debatable, and answers will be provided as directly and concisely as possible ensuring that justice has
been done to the inquiry.
A request for information relating to the pending business is treated just as a
parliamentary inquiry, and has the same privileges. The inquirer rises and says,
“Mr. Chairman, I rise for information,” or, “I rise to a point of information,”
whereupon the chair directs him to state the point upon which he desires
information, and the procedure continues as in case of a parliamentary inquiry. If
the information is desired of the speaker, instead of the chair, the inquirer upon
rising says, “Mr. Chairman, I should like to ask the gentleman a question.” The
chairman inquires if the speaker is willing to be interrupted, and if he consents, he
directs the inquirer to proceed.
Roberts Rules of Order, Article IV Incidental Motions, Section 27b: Requests Growing out of Business
of the Assembly
(publicly available at http://www.bartleby.com)