Standards development organization Health Level Seven (HL7) International announced on May 16 a pilot membership program and webpage to encourage clinician caregivers to participate in the process of developing standards for EHRs.
"We have always valued the contributions of caregivers -- the physicians, nurses, pharmacist and others in the healthcare continuum. These clinicians are best suited to provide input about the usability, interface design and workflow demands of electronic health records," said Charles Jaffe, MD, PhD, CEO of HL7. "Yet, for several years, the HL7 leadership has voiced its concerns about the typical first encounter with the standards development process. We are now in a better position to translate the practical clinical expertise of these caregivers into tangible improvements in the interaction with the health record technology."
Caregiver membership is open to physicians, nurses, pharmacists and others who are involved in direct patient care. The annual membership costs $100.
“My participation in HL7 has allowed me to make a tangible impact on how technology is used in healthcare. I reap the benefits in a very practical way as I apply technology within my institution,” said 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.
According to HL7, caregiver membership enables clinicians to contribute in the following areas:
- Helping to ensure that standards adopted for healthcare IT (HIT) offer real and practical value in supporting the information exchange between health providers that is essential to coordinating patient care.
- Improving the quality and usability of the HIT standards developed by HL7 and, ultimately, the EHR products that use them.
- Networking with HL7 members who are nationally recognized experts in HIT.
- Sharing knowledge and gaining insight on how the use of data standards affects clinical practice in supporting patient care and improving quality and efficiency.
- Obtaining the information they need to make informed decisions in EHR purchases, and knowing what to request from vendors.
“HL7 standards are the most widely used in the industry,” said Don Mon, PhD, 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.”
HL7 said several standards development projects currently under way will benefit from caregiver input. These include functional models and profiles that describe requirements for EHR system capabilities, as well as domain analysis models that describe workflow and data requirements within specific domains of care such as perioperative, emergency medical systems and cardiovascular.Click here for more information on caregiver membership.