EHR Association Questions and Answers
The Electronic Health Record Association (EHRA) is a trade group of nearly 40 software companies that develop, market, and support electronic health records (EHRs) in the US. The Association operates on the premise that the rapid, widespread adoption of EHRs will help improve the quality of patient care as well as the productivity and sustainability of the healthcare system as a key enabler of healthcare transformation. The EHR Association and its members are committed to supporting safe healthcare delivery, fostering continued innovation, and operating with high integrity in the market for our users and their patients and families.
- Work together as EHR software providers to accelerate health IT (HIT) adoption, advance interoperability, and provide education to all healthcare industry stakeholders including standards organizations and policymakers based on our shared belief that widespread EHR adoption will help improve the quality of patient care and the productivity of the US healthcare system.
- Engage the EHR software provider community regarding EHR and HIT standards development, EHR certification processes and criteria, interoperability, performance and quality measures, HIT-focused public policy, and other EHR-related issues that are the subject of increasing government, payer, and provider focus.
- Represent our customers by sharing success stories and ensuring that the practical application and operation of EHRs is considered in national and local HIT initiatives.
- Collaborate with regulators to ensure that there is a balanced perspective in the rulemaking process and that resulting regulations are practical and meet legislative goals to achieve meaningful use of EHRs to improve access, quality, and efficiency of healthcare delivery for all Americans.
EHR Association members have a long tradition of working with our customers to improve care, increase efficiencies, enhance patient safety, and provide better outcomes. As EHRs have become essential to the delivery of quality patient care and, ultimately, the transformation of our healthcare system, we recognize the importance to all stakeholders of promoting a set of transparent industry principles that reflect our continued commitment to support safe healthcare delivery and the value that EHRs have for patients and families. Through sponsorship of the Code, the Association intends to further our mission to represent the interests of all EHR developers and demonstrate leadership on behalf of our members. The Association will maintain and update the Code as needed, and provide a forum for educating EHR developers on the importance of these principles. We encourage all EHR developers, regardless of membership in the EHR Association, to adopt the Code.
The Association has been providing testimony, comments, and education to federal legislators and policymakers since its inception in 2004. We continue a collaborative dialog with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the HIT Policy and Standards Committees, and other federal agencies and committees. The results of that outreach were evident in the recent regulatory actions to extend Stage 2 of the meaningful use Incentive Program and delay the start of Stage 3 until 2017. We continue to provide insights to policymakers through our comments on 2015 and 2017 EHR certification proposals, the evolution of eCQM requirements and tools, initiatives that focus on EHR usability and patient safety, and our ongoing efforts to achieve widespread interoperability through the adoption of common standards. EHRA also collaborates with professional medical societies, such as the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American College of Physicians (ACP) on issues related to EHR usability and patient safety.
The EHR Association workgroups are the “engine” that, led by the Executive Committee, represent the Association, develop position statements and comments on proposed legislation and regulations, and create tools for members and their customers. Engaging individuals from member companies with a variety of skills and expertise, these workgroups collaborate on the premise that “many heads are better than one” and focus on standards and interoperability, delivery system reform, patient safety, electronic clinical quality measures (eCQMs), clinician experience and usability, public policy, certification, privacy and security, and meaningful use.
EHRA workgroups produce a wealth of information such as Quick Start Guides for CDA/CRS and CCD, the Interoperability Roadmap (now in its third version), and The Value of EHRs (a compendium of case studies of successful EHR use). We also provide education for our members on a variety of topics during monthly all-member calls and focused web seminars on topics such as the ONC Guide to Privacy and Security of Health Information. These work products, along with detailed responses to proposed regulations and position statements on important industry topics, are available to members and the industry in general on the EHR Association web site (www.ehrassociation.org), along with a long list of position statements, Congressional testimony, and responses to requests for public comments on a wide variety of industry and regulatory issues.
The Association’s strength lies in our collective experiences in the technical and practical aspects s of EHR development and deployment, coupled with an understanding of the needs of our customers. A variety of white papers and position statements on important topics, from meaningful use to delivery system reform, is a rich resource for not only EHR Association member companies but for all industry stakeholders seeking to understand the issues and broad impacts of HIT on the care delivery process and system. Just select the “Resource Center” tab on our web site at www.ehrassociation.org.
Our members were active participants in the process to develop a fair, efficient, credible, and sustainable mechanism for EHR certification. Association members have provided extensive review and feedback throughout the entire process, and as ONC and the National Institute for Standards Testing (NIST) refined these processes toward permanent certification in 2012. We continue to provide input to ONC as they consider additional certification requirements and the extension of EHR certification to other government agencies.
Membership in the Association is open to any HIMSS Corporate Member that develops, installs, and supports EHRs in the US. Go to www.ehrassociation.org/ASP/callForMembers.asp for details.