Definition of a Standard Protocol

By Cheryl Hosmer

A standard protocol is a mandated, fixed procedure for completing a task. Often designated by flow chart or spelled out in textual steps, standard protocol may be nationally recognized or de facto--accepted, but not nationally recognized. There are as many types of standard protocol as there are tasks associated with them.

Computer Communication

Electronics like telephones, computers and DVD recorders communicate by way of data lines. These single lines provide device-to-device communication through interconnection. Its standard protocol creates data packets that are scrambled through the lines and reassembled so the receiver can understand the message.

Medical Protocol

Body fluid spills in the emergency room require that environmental specialists follow specific protocol to clean up the mess so patients and hospital personnel are not subjected to infection and viruses such as AIDS. Occupational Safety and Health Administration clean-up protocol falls under the standard protocol "Universal Precautions," while hospital clean-up policy may fall under de facto standard protocol.

Decision-Making Protocol

A type of de facto standard protocol manages decision-making processes. These often become industry standards if the selected protocol works for the group or for a project. Quality teams brainstorming and choosing what protocol makes sense for a project falls under de facto protocol.