In the context of Health informatics, CCOW or Clinical Context Object Workgroup is an HL7 standard protocol designed to enable disparate applications to synchronize in real-time, and at the user-interface level. It is vendor independent and allows applications to present information at the desktop and/or portal level in a unified way.

CCOW is the primary standard protocol in healthcare to facilitate a process called "Context Management." Context Management is the process of using particular "subjects" of interest (e.g., user, patient, clinical encounter, charge item, etc.) to 'virtually' link disparate applications so that the end-user sees them operate in a unified, cohesive way.

For more information from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CCOW

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