A blueprint for the basic framework of an electronic health record is in a bit firmer shape today, having passed on a second balloting by Health Level 7, an accredited national standards setting organization based in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Last July, HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson asked the Institute of Medicine to develop an electronic medical records standard, and the IOM handed the task off to HL7, an American National Standards Institute-accredited standards-development organization. HL7 has had a special interest group wrestling with an EHR since 2001.
The fatter first draft of the EHR standard was voted down by HL7 members in September, but a slimmed-down version divided into four parts was presented to healthcare informatics leaders for reballoting that opened March 18. All four sections received the 60% favorable votes of those cast required for passage.
The standard covers about 130 functions.
The recent balloting results are subject to a reconciliation process to resolve issues raised by negative ballots to be held during a work group meeting May 2-7 in San Antonio.
From there, the plan is to move the guidelines forward for a period of up to 24 months as a "draft standard for trial use." During that period, companies can implement the standard and early adopters put it to use. Their feedback can be incorporated into a final standard and reballoted.