The Continuity of Care Document (CCD) specification is an XML-based markup standard intended to specify the encoding, structure and semantics of a patient summary clinical document for exchange.

The CCD specification is a constraint on the HL7 Clinical Document Architecture (CDA) standard. The CDA specifies that the content of the document consists of a mandatory textual part (which ensures human interpretation of the document contents) and optional structured parts (for software processing). The structured part is based on the HL7 Reference Information Model (RIM) and provides a framework for referring to concepts from coding systems such as from SNOMED and LOINC.

The patient summary contains a core data set of the most relevant administrative, demographic, and clinical information facts about a patient's healthcare, covering one or more healthcare encounters. It provides a means for one healthcare practitioner, system, or setting to aggregate all of the pertinent data about a patient and forward it to another practitioner, system, or setting to support the continuity of care. Its primary use case is to provide a snapshot in time containing the pertinent clinical, demographic, and administrative data for a specific patient.

The CCD specification contains U.S. specific requirements; its use is therefore limited to the U.S. The U.S. Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel has selected the CCD as one of its standards.
CCD plays a key role in meaningful use. Because it facilitates the sharing of information between systems and providers, it can be considered a foundational element for complying with many meaningful use criteria. Though it is expected to play a much larger role in future stages, the CCD is important even in stage 1.