New HL7 program seeks to spur EHR participation

Health Level Seven International (HL7) announced Wednesday the inception of its pilot membership program and launched a website aimed at increasing caregivers’ participation in the development of electronic health record (EHR) standards.

"For several years, the HL7 leadership has voiced its concerns about the typical first encounter with the standards development process,” said Charles Jaffe, MD, CEO of HL7. However, he added, “Now we are in a better position to translate the practical clinical expertise of these caregivers into tangible improvements in the interaction with the health record technology."

[See also: EHR alliance to help physicians adopt IT.]

Feliciano Yu, MD, a practicing pediatrician and chief medical information officer at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, and co-chair of the HL7 Child Health Work Group, explained that his engagement in HL7 has allowed him “to make a tangible impact on how technology is used in healthcare.” He went on to say, “I reap the benefits in a very practical way as I apply technology within my institution.”

With an HL7 Caregiver Membership, clinicians can:

  • Help ensure that standards adopted for healthcare IT (HIT) offer real and practical value in supporting the information exchange between health providers essential to coordinating patient care;
  • Improve the quality and usability of the HIT standards developed by HL7 and, ultimately, the EHR products that use them;
  • Network with HL7 members who are nationally recognized experts in HIT;
  • Share knowledge and gain insight on how the use of data standards affects clinical practice in supporting patient care and improving quality and efficiency;
  • Have the information they need to make informed decisions in EHR purchases, and know what to request from vendors.


“HL7 standards are the most widely used in the industry,” said Don Mon, chair, HL7 board of directors. “Caregiver members will not only gain first-hand exposure to the standards and technology that drive clinical summaries, laboratory results, prescriptions, and public health and quality data, they will have a direct channel to influence the clinical technology requirements that support an increasingly patient-centered healthcare system.”

[See also: HL7 offers standard for clinical research in an EHR.]

Standard development projects currently under way that will benefit from caregiver input include HL7:

  • Electronic Health Records System Functional Model, Release 2
  • Preoperative Domain Analysis Model (DAM)
  • Emergency Medical System DAM
  • Neonatal Functional Profile
  • Cardiovascular DAM

Functional models and profiles describe requirements for EHR system capabilities. DAMs describe workflow and data requirements within specific domains of care.