EHR model goes up for a vote on Thursday

By Healthcare IT News
12:00 AM

Following a positive straw poll at the HIMSS conference, the new Electronic Health Record functional model is slated to go up for a formal vote on Thursday.

The vote, which is open for 30 days, is restricted to Health Level 7 members. A $100 administrative fee will also allow nonmembers to vote.

Balloting is solely on the HL7 Web site, www.HL7.org.

The ballot will be available for comment until April 16. The results will be announced during a working group meeting, May 2-7 in San Antonio, Texas.

Pat Wise, EHR initiatives for HIMSS, Health Information Management Systems Society, is encouraged by how the revised model won preliminary approval from the industry, with 79 percent of voters at the HIMSS conference Feb. 22-26 casting affirmative ballots.

Wise is among 50 members of the HL7 EHR Special Interest Group. She represents HIMSS on the EHRCollaborative . The collaborative, a group of organizations representing key stakeholders in healthcare, has dedicated itself to the retooling an EHR model for industry trial.

The previous model was voted down by the HL7 membership last fall. The new model put forth today is a pared down version. Instead of 1,600 functions, it lists 130.

"There was a struggle on what was the appropriate granularity," said Wise. Wise blames the failure of the previous model in part on its complexity, and also because there was not enough time to solicit feedback.

"The previous model was on an extremely aggressive timeline," she said. "This model, we've had time to put it out there."

"This model could provide a great value by establishing guidelines for an electronic health record that can improve the quality and safety of care, increase collaboration and information sharing to enhance patient care, potentially lower costs, and provide better clinical data upon which to base future policy and research," said John E. Fishbeck, associate director, division of standards and survey methods at the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO).

Wise said every negative vote will have to be "reconciled," meaning every comment has to be addressed. The model requires a 2/3 positive vote to go to a two-year industry trial.

Adopting the model does not mean every function will be addressed by every vendor immediately. "It helps provide a guideline," Wise said. "It helps provide a standard." Detailed information about the new EHR model is available at http://www.hl7.org/EHR/.

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