A second balloting on a proposed national standard for what should be included in an electronic health record will commence Thursday.
The standard is being developed by the Electronic Health Record Collaborative, an arm of Health Level Seven, an American National Standards Institute-accredited standards development organization.
On July 1, 2003, HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson asked the Institute of Medicine to work up an EMR standard within two months. It turned to HL7 to solicit proposals and find industry consensus.
A first draft of a proposed standard was voted down resoundingly by HL7 members in September, ending Thompson's hopes of a fast-break development approach. But a record turnout of 223 voters heartened healthcare informatics leaders that interest was high in creating a national EHR guideline.
With about 130 functions, the current version coming up for a vote is much slimmer than the original it replaces.
The standard will create a voluntary, uniform map of functionality for EHRs that information technology vendors and other healthcare information technology developers can use to create "a common language for the provider community to help guide their planning, acquisition and transition to electronic systems," according to Don Mon, vice president of practice leadership for the American Health Information Management Association, which is working on the EHR project.