EHR System Capabilities: What Do EHRs Need to Be Able to Do?

The following article is published on behalf of Donald T. Mon, PhD, Chair, HL7:

If you are going through an EHR system selection process, or would like to evaluate the capabilities of your current Electronic Health Record (EHR) system against industry standards, you should check out the HL7 International standard for EHR system functionality — officially labeled as the “HL7 EHR-System Functional Model.”

In 2007, a diverse workgroup within the HL7 data standards organization published an industry standard that defines what electronic health record systems should be able to do today, tomorrow, and in the future. Hundreds of providers and vendors participated in the project, which was ultimately accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

Vendors use the model as a guide and roadmap for the capabilities that should be included in their EHR products. Providers use it to help them articulate what they’d like their EHR systems to be able to do, as well as a resource for evaluating the capabilities of various EHR systems.

Over time, additional HL7 work groups have published similar and related guides or profiles for child healthcare, long term care, emergency services, behavioral health, pharmacy/pharmacist, and other domain areas that have unique requirements in how EHR systems are used in care delivery and management.

The model and its profiles are available for review through the HL7 website at Contact for more information or to get involved.

Donald T. Mon, PhD, Chair, HL7


2 responses to "EHR System Capabilities: What Do EHRs Need to Be Able to Do?"
  • September 11, 2012
    Mark Shortt

    With stage 2 using the CCD document as a way to promote interoperability. I have found there are very few EHR’s that can import the CCD document as structured data (medications, allergies, problem list). Most EHR’s import the CCD document as a static html file. The data contained in the html is viewing only. The data has to be manually entered into the EHR as structured data. Having the EHR to import the CCD as structured data should be a priority for certification. Web or SAAS based models to not have this capability. Also I’m finding doctors still have a new patient form on their website in pdf format again this usually get’s scanned or manually entered into the chart. The use of the open source XForms is a much better approach as the results are in XML and can easily be mapped to a CCD document and imported into the EHR and the results can be stored in an opensource XML database for future use and queries.
    Just a thought

  • September 24, 2015

    The MU audits are just sttaring, and as of July 1, ANSI is now empowered to hear complaints from providers and others about certified systems that do not implement ONC MU criteria. Creating, communicating and reading CCRs and CCDs are mandatory parts of the certification process ( 170.304(i) ). So if this big time vendor won’t accept a CCD, sounds like you (or your client with your help) should file a complaint with ANSI and ONC. That’ll get their attention.In my experience, some vendors danced’ through the ONC certification process with prototype’ systems, it’s now time to hold their feet to the fire!

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