Proposed DESD Decision Making Practices

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Decision Making Practices

This section documents the proposed set of decision-making practices for the Domain Experts Steering Division (DE-SD) of the HL7 Technical Steering Committee.

Constituency & Voting

  • The Steering Divisions of the Technical Steering Committee are made up of the Co-chairs of a set of work groups that constitute that Steering Division (the "constituents" of the Steering Division).
  • The constituents of each Steering Division are determined by the Technical Steering Committee.
  • The Co-chairs of the Steering Division are the elected representatives (primary and alternate) to the TSC from that Steering Division.
  • The Steering Division is tasked to coordinate and oversee the activities of its constituents and to represent their concerns in the HL7 Technical Steering Committee.
  • Voting in Steering Division matters will be cast on a one-vote per constituent basis by the elected Co-Chairs of the constituents.
  • The Steering Division primary co-chair is allowed to vote in steering division votes. If the primary co-chair is unable to vote, the alternate may do so instead.

The DE-SD will lead by example and adhere to a set of decision-making practices that ensure consensus, openness, and balance of interest. Furthermore, the practices as outlined here are designed to enable timely decision-making with an earnest attempt to ensure that input from all affected parties is considered. The Decision-making practices are intended to govern the standard operating procedures of the DE-SD and are not intended to conflict with rules governing ballot procedure as defined by ANSI and the HL7 Bylaws and Policies and Procedures.

  1. Meetings are open to all interested parties including but not limited to members of HL7, HL7 affiliates, and invited guests.
    • Meetings of the DE-SD are open to everyone to ensure that viewpoints of all affected parties have an opportunity to be shared and considered. Everyone may have an opportunity to speak; however, the chair may limit discussion to topics that have been identified during the setting of the meeting agenda, or due to time-constraints that may prevent completion of business. If discussion is truncated prior to resolution of the item under discussion, a future time for discussion will be set prior to moving to the next topic.
    • Participants with submitted topics are expected to attend when the purpose or mode of the meeting require their input. Other HL7 members may be asked to attend to provide specific input regarding a particular issue. The following list identifies expected participation by meeting type. All DE-SD meetings are open; this list simply identifies the anticipated participants.
      • Scheduled/Periodic conference call meetings are attended by Co-chairs of the constituents of DE-SD.
      • DE-SD Meetings during Working Group Meetings may be attended by any working group meeting attendee. Participants are asked to introduce themselves and identify the nature of their affiliation with HL7.
  2. Venues of Notification.
    • All activities will be conducted in a public light with efforts made to ensure ample notification of those interested. The DE-SD shall use the DE-SD's portion of the TSC Wiki site as its primary vehicle for notifications.
    • Satisfaction of minimal notification requirements dictates that relevant announcements/materials/etc. be posted to the Wiki. The Wiki will be used for discussion threads, notifications, new and archived documents, whereas the web server will predominantly be used for archival and document resources (decision documents, minutes, papers, etc.).
    • Any use of the terms post, posted, or posting refers to notification subject to these constraints.
  3. Notification of meetings and the intended agenda is provided prior to the meeting.
    • Binding decisions can be made only at meetings with the required advance notification or as the result of announced electronic votes; only recommendations and non-binding decisions can be made at special purpose meetings.
    • The chair of the DE-SD shall make every attempt to ensure that all parties with an interest in agenda topics are made aware of the meeting time and location subject to the documented notification requirements. As appropriate, DE-SD activities will be cross-posted to other HL7 Wiki sites, depending upon the topic and type of meeting as indicated in the following list. Certain meetings are subject to Bylaws guidelines for notification. Please refer to the Bylaws for additional information.
      • Working group meeting agendas are posted in the meeting brochure. A preliminary agenda is developed by Wednesday of the prior working-group meeting and posted with the minutes within 2 weeks. The preliminary agenda is finalized on a scheduled conference call two weeks prior to the working group meeting and posted within 2 business days. Recognizing the dynamic nature of working group meetings, the agenda may require updates. Notification will be satisfied so long as at least two of the following venues are used:
        • E-mail notification by 6:00 pm local time the evening before the event
        • Notification on the bulletin board (near the registration desk) at least 2 quarters prior to the event
        • Announcement in the general session or lunch session prior to the event
      • Scheduled/Periodic telephone conference call meeting agendas are to be posted no later than 24 hours prior to the call. Preliminary agendas are to be determined at the close of each teleconference.
      • The agenda, for either a conference call or working group meeting, will include the purpose of each topic, anticipated discussion time and whether it is intended to set direction or to make a decision.
      • Should the DE-SD require action between scheduled meetings there are two alternatives. First, a Special Purpose Meeting may be called as defined in the Bylaws (Section 11.04), which requires 30 days notice. Alternatively, the issues may be discussed as an informal group, bringing forward recommendations to the list or as a discussion topic for the next regularly scheduled DE-SD meeting. Recommendations by the informal group are not binding decisions until acted upon by the DE-SD.
  4. Decisions made at DE-SD meetings are recorded in meeting minutes and posted.
    • Minutes are recorded and posted for all DE-SD meetings including the date, time, and location of the meeting, a list of attendees, the intended agenda, a brief summary of discussion topics, and the outcome of proposals made (including vote tallies if votes were taken).
    • Minutes from a working group meeting will be posted no later than 2 weeks of the last day of the conference and in compliance with HQ deadlines; minutes from a conference call will be posted within one week of the call.
  5. Decisions made at non-working group meetings (conference calls and special purpose meetings) are summarized during the next working group meeting.
    • In the interest of facilitating good communication among the DE-SD members, those decisions that were made between working group meetings will be summarized and available at working group meetings. This communication will contain, at a minimum, abbreviated summary of the issues involved and the decisions made by the DE-SD. Any DE-SD decisions are subject to the practices documented elsewhere in this paper.
  6. Quorum for DE-SD meetings:
    • For decision making, the chair (or designate) and Co-chairs representing at least half of the constituents must be present. For direction setting, the chair (or designate) and Co-chairs representing at least one-third of the constituents must be present. In both circumstances, the chair may be counted as the Co-chair representing his/her constituent in the event no other Co-chairs of that constituent are present.
    • Attendance for all meetings is recorded in the meeting minutes, including the participant name and constituent(s) they represent. The recorder for the meeting is responsible for ensuring minutes are taken and posted. Due to the balanced makeup of the DE-SD, "Preponderance of Influence" is not viewed as a substantive issue for the DE-SD. The chair may cast a vote on behalf of the constituent the chair represents in the event that no other Co-chairs for that constituent are present.
    • In all circumstances, the DE-SD can have no more than one presiding chair. All other DE-SD members, act as regular members when not presiding. Note that the presiding chair can change within the course of a given session so long as a public statement recognizing the shift of control is made.
    • Although any issue may be discussed within DE-SD meeting venues at any time, binding actions cannot be taken without sufficient notification and quorum. Absence of either of these conditions allows the DE-SD to issue recommendations that must subsequently be ratified by the DE-SD subject to satisfying constraints placed upon binding decisions.
  7. Decisions made by the Steering Division are reached using a simple majority vote.
    • Votes are cast on behalf of the constituents (one vote per constituent) as determined by the Co-chairs of each constituent in attendance. On a given topic, an individual who is a Co-Chair of more than one constituent of DE-SD may cast a vote on behalf of only one of those constituents. The DE-SD will always strive for consensus in decision-making.
    • While decisions are made by simple majority vote, the DE-SD shall endeavor to make its decisions via a consensus process. For a decision to be called consensus, it must receive two-thirds (66%) majority support. While determining if consensus is being reached, a variety of techniques may be used informally to assess the position of the group, including but not limited to straw poll, Robert's Rules of Order, seeking response to a hypothetical opposing view, and polling each participant to voice their position on the issue.
    • When formal votes are taken voting shall always be by constituent. For non-binding decisions only, all meeting participants may have the opportunity to vote at the discretion of the chair.
    • It is recognized that revisiting previously made decisions inhibits DE-SD progress and should be discouraged. That said, circumstances might exist that warrant re-opening of discussion on a previously visited issue. To dissuade this practice, such re-opening requires a formal motion, second, and simple majority affirmative vote of the DE-SD as subject to the quorum rules in this document; however, in order for the decision to be considered binding, advance notification, as defined in this document, is required.
    • If none of the Co-chairs of a constituent of DE-SD are able to participate in DE-SD activities in person, that constituent may not vote by proxy.
    • The DE Steering Division does not recognize voting by proxy. There is ample opportunity to support or oppose proposals under consideration through DE-SD Wiki discussions, email and conference calls, and virtually all constituents have more than one Co-chair authorized to represent them. If a constituent feels strongly enough about a particular topic to want consideration by the DE-SD, that constituent shall be present for the topic to be considered. The chair will be sensitive and considerate in attempting to accommodate schedules to ensure the constituent can be represented at the appropriate venue.
    • Statement of Position. Those HL7 members wishing to establish a position on a topic under consideration by the DE-SD in writing may do so subject to the notification requirements below. Statements of Position received prior-to or during the meeting will be shared by the chair as part of the discussion on the related topic. The chair has the responsibility to voice and represent these positions during relevant discussion, though they are not under obligation to support or defend them. These statements do not carry the weight of a vote and are included as informational items only for consideration by the DE-SD. All Statements of Position received in electronic form will be included as attachments to the minutes.
  8. Electronic Voting.
    • It is expected that most DE-SD voting outside of the working group meetings will be conducted electronically.
    • DE-SD electronic votes will be announced on the steering division list server.
    • The DE-SD electronic votes will be held open for a period not to exceed 3 weeks from the announcement that the voting is opened or when quorum on the vote has been achieved.
    • Quorum for electronic voting is 50% of the constiuent work groups voting plus a steering division co-chair voting.
    • If quorum has not been acheived at the end of the 3 week period, the vote will be closed, and the work groups not participating in the vote shall be counted towards quorum and as casting an abstention in the vote.
    • Electronic votes are decided by simple majority of the affirmatives and negatives.
  9. The DE-SD shall rely upon Robert's Rules of Order in the event that formal guidance is needed or requested.
    • The DE-SD intends to ensure the effective and active engagement of all participants. To ensure fair and just participation, the DE-SD shall follow its documented decision-making practices, falling-back upon Roberts Rules of Order in the event of a question or concern. Since Robert's Rules of Order provides formalism for addressing almost all matters of process, this provides a "backup mechanism" of formality in the event that it is required.
    • It is the responsibility of the chair to guide the DE-SD to an efficient and effective outcome. The DE-SD shall follow, in this order of precedence, these Decision-making Practices (which cannot conflict with HL7 Policies and Procedures or the HL7 Bylaws), HL7 Policies and Procedures, the HL7 Bylaws, and Robert's Rules of Order. DE-SD-established decision-making practices can refine the HL7 Policies and Procedures and Bylaws so long as they remain in accordance with those documents.
    • In the event that an issue arises where formality is required and other guidance exists, Robert's Rules of Order shall take precedence. This provides a "common denominator" to keep in-check the power of the chair and to confirm the rights of all DE-SD members.

Quorum Examples

NOTE: QUORUM EXAMPLES ARE CRAFTED DEPENDING UPON SD SIZE, based upon PIC's Decision Making Practices Document version 1.3, adopted December 1, 2003. The following examples are based on the current Steering Division membership of (16) constituent bodies.

Simple scenario

15 persons, representing nine constituents, attend a meeting, including the chair (or their designate).

Quorum is established and the DE-SD can conduct its business as usual. Nine participants may vote, because six constituents are represented by two attendees.

Tie scenario

14 persons, representing eight constituents, attend a meeting, including the chair (or their designate).

Quorum is established and the DE-SD can conduct its business as usual. In the event of a tie the item will fail because a simple majority is not reached.

Non-representative scenario

14 persons, representing seven constituents, including the chair (or their designate).

Quorum is not established for decision making, but direction setting business may proceed.