HL7 passes standards for EHR system for children

By Molly Merrill
10:36 AM
Child Health Functional Profile designed to define the general pediatric functions critical for EHRs

Health Level Seven (HL7), a healthcare IT standards development organization, has passed the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-approved standard that specifies basic functional requirements for child healthcare in an electronic health record system.

HL7's Child Health Functional Profile is designed to define the general pediatric functions critical for electronic health record systems that are used to care for children. The profile is based upon the HL7 EHR System Functional Model, which is also ANSI-approved.

The HL7 Child Health Work Group spent four years developing the Child Health Functional Profile, workingto identify and refine a broad list of functions required of EHR systems for the care of children.

The group identified additional EHR system functions needed to care for a child under 18 who receives routine wellness and preventative, acute illness or acute trauma care that takes place in a newborn nursery, primary care provider's office, emergency room, urgent care clinic or inpatient hospital setting.

The profile also supports ambulatory and inpatient hospital care for common chronic pediatric diseases such as asthma, sickle cell disease and diabetes, as well as those with unusual social situations such as foster care, divided homes and state custody.

Children comprise one-third of the U.S. population, and more than half visit clinicians in settings other than pediatric offices.

"The intent of the Child Health Functional Profile is to assist all child medical providers and associated IT vendors in helping to ensure safe, effective and reliable care of children through the safe and effective use of information technology," said Andrew Spooner, MD, chief medical information officer at Cincinnati Children's Medical Center and co-chairman of the HL7 Child Health Work Group.

"As vendors develop EHR systems for the care of children they will want to conform to the Child Health Functional Profile, in order to better equip clinicians in any setting to care for children," he added.

The Child Health Functional Profile is already in use. The Alliance for Pediatric Quality, which includes the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Board of Pediatrics, Child Health Corporation of America and National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions, backs the HL7 Child Health Work Group and Child Health Functional Profile and views the profile as critical in advancing pediatric applications of technology.

It's also a key resource for the Child Health Work Group within the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT) as the group works to define new child health certification criteria for EHR systems.

"CCHIT congratulates HL7 in achieving formal approval of its Child Health standards," said Mark Leavitt, MD, the CCHIT's chairman."The HL7 standard for EHR systems has been extremely valuable to us, providing the starting framework for CCHIT's development of certification criteria. CCHIT and HL7 provide a good example of effective collaboration between different organizations, as we all work toward the goal of accelerating the adoption of robust, interoperable health IT."