The Importance of Standards in EHR Adoption by Specialties

Could you imagine the national road system without standards for width, signage, stop lights, and exits? Similarly, how about the railways without standard gauges for railway tracks? It is these standards that make systems work safely and effectively. Many organizations establish and manage the standards, defining how and when changes are made.

In healthcare IT there are a number of standards organizations. One that plays a critical role in defining how information is transmitted and shared within the healthcare system is Health Level Seven® International (HL7). Groups within HL7 develop the messages that are transmitted via the info superhighways to enable the accurate sharing of clinical information. As a new partner organization with AmericanEHR, we are very pleased to bring the work conducted by HL7 to the attention of practicing clinicians as well as encouraging greater clinical involvement in the HL7 working groups.

What does HL7 mean to clinicians and why should you get involved? This is best explained through an example member spotlight.

Feliciano Yu, MD, St. Louis Children’s Hospital

Dr. Feliciano Yu

Dr. Feliciano (Pele) Yu is a practicing pediatrician and Chief Medical Information Officer at Children’s Hospital of St. Louis.

Dr. Yu is a longtime co-chair of the HL7 Child Health Work Group, which was established in 2003 to bring the pediatric community together to identify, prioritize, and publish important EHR functional requirements for child healthcare.

“Direct participation in HL7 was the best way for our pediatric community to have a unified voice in improving the quality of EHR systems for the care of children,” said Dr. Yu.

With leadership from Dr. Yu and other pediatricians, the Child Health Work Group published the HL7 Child Health Functional Profile for EHR-Systems, Release 1 in 2007, which was accepted by ANSI in 2009 as a national standard and serves as a clear source for direction on what EHR systems should be able to do to support child healthcare.

The HL7 Child Health Profile includes recommendations for immunization management, growth tracking, medication dosing, data norms and privacy, and more.

Dr. Yu is also responsible for recommending that HL7 develop data standards for reporting quality measures, and he served in a leadership role for the publication of the HL7 Quality Reporting Document Architecture (QRDA) implementation guide.

“My participation in HL7 has allowed me to make a tangible impact on how technology is used in healthcare,” said Dr. Yu. “And, I reap the benefits in a very practical way as I apply technology within my institution.”

If you are interested in learning more about the HL7 Child Health Work Group or participating in other clinical work groups, contact caregivers@hl7.org.

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