B.C. Health Information Standards for Date and Time

Last updated on January 25, 2021

The Government of British Columbia IM/IT Date and Time Standard document describes the date and time standard for use within British Columbia’s health care community.

The accurate recording and interpretation of dated entries is fundamental to the delivery of service and continuity of care.

In order to avoid confusion and achieve clarity, the date/time format needs to be consistent to address ambiguity in documentation and presentation in electronic health records.

The standards in the B.C. Health Information Standards for Date and Time document are based on the International Standards Organization’s (ISO) 8601 Extended Date/Time Format (EDTF) and ISO/TS 22220: 2008 ‘Health Informatics – Identification of subjects of health care’ which can be used by providers who want to use a standardized way of presenting date and time.

Implementing the Date and Time Standards provides any BC health system organization, provider or data steward or other end user, immediate value in the capture, maintenance, search, retrieval and validation using date and time across the B.C. healthcare community and its health information systems.


The audience for this standard is those individuals or organizations responsible for planning, designing, developing or maintaining systems, electronic or otherwise, that transmit, process, display or store date and time.

Its primary audience is health information management and information technology professionals, but, as a standard published on the provincial health information standards web-site, it may also serve a broader general audience having either a specific interest in this topic or a more general interest in health information standards.

The scope of the Date and Time Standards specifies representations of dates in the Gregorian calendar and times based on the 24-hour timekeeping system, time intervals and recurring time intervals. The formats of these data element representations are included in information interchange as well as composite elements of them, as character strings for use in information interchange. It is also applicable for representing times and time shifts based on Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).


The Date and Time Standards have been endorsed by the provincial Health Information Standards Standing Committee (HISSC).

Current Status

Version 1.0 of the standard was published in June 2020 and is available for download (see links below).


Significant analysis and review of documents and specifications were undertaken to make sure the standards developed would be applicable and attainable to the various stakeholder groups.

Wherever possible, content templates defined and reviewed by standards bodies were referenced, and appropriate constraints for the B.C. context applied.

The content of the standard may require post-production edits, additions and/or maintenance to address issues identified by technical validation. Additional adjustments may be required over time to reflect requirements in B.C. or to align with emerging pan-Canadian standards developments.


Download the B.C. Health Information Standards for Date and Time (link)

Last updated: June 2020