Twenty-one developers of software for electronic health-records systems have banded together under the aegis of the Chicago-based Health Information Management Systems Society to found a subgroup to address EHR interoperability issues and to promote provider adoption of the information technology systems.
The new group will be called the HIMSS EHR Vendor Association.
HIMSS, a trade group comprising developers and users of healthcare IT, in an announcement at the launch of the association in November, invoked the national health IT plan unveiled in July by David Brailer, M.D., the national coordinator for health information technology at CMS.
Brailer's plan called for "more cost-effective EHR adoption, less risk-adverse buyers and a faster-growing and more attractive market for investments in health information technology."
"The adoption of the electronic health record demands collective involvement and expertise from private-sector companies that develop the software products clinicians will use in private practice or other healthcare settings," said Stephen Lieber, HIMSS president and chief executive officer, in a press release.
"One of the benefits of the HIMSS EHR Vendor Association is that it opens the communication process so that our members can work together to identify issues related to software development and functionality for EHR products," Lieber said.
Founding members of the association are A4 Health Systems, Allscripts Healthcare Systems, Cerner Corp., Companion Technologies, Eclipsys Corp., e-MDs, Epic Systems Corp., GE Healthcare, GEMMS, Greenway Medical Technologies, IDX Systems Corp., iMedica Corp., McKesson Provider Technologies, MediNotes, Misys Healthcare Systems, NextGen Healthcare Information Systems, Physician Micro Systems, PowerMed, Siemens Medical Solutions, SOAPware and WebMD Practice Services.
The association is the third HIMSS foray into the EHR advisory arena in recent months.
In October, HIMSS formed an advisory committee to provide input to the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology, which itself is a private-sector organization formed in July as a joint effort by HIMSS, the American Health Information Management Association and the National Alliance for Health Information Technology. The aim of the certification commission is to develop a process by which healthcare IT systems, initially ambulatory care EHR systems, can be checked and evaluated for interoperability with other systems.
Though it not a governmental organization, the certification commission was formed at the suggestion of Brailer, who said the government payers would require IT systems to meet some minimum standards before public funds could be allocated to help pay for their purchase and use. The certification commission has members from the IT industry, payers, providers, consultants and professional organizations.
The HIMSS advisory committee to the certification commission was formed, Lieber said, to ensure a broad spectrum of voices from the IT industry is heard by the commission.