Voting on simpler electronic records standard begins

FRAMINGHAM (03/16/2004) - Health Level Seven Inc. members will begin voting on a revised electronic medical record standard beginning Tuesday, an effort designed to establish a draft set of standards to guide development of records technology.

Voting on the ballot will be open for 30 days, and HL7 members who have worked to develop the standard said they are confident the measure will win the group's support.

"(We) have been able to capture what people really want," said Linda Fischetti, a nurse who served as one of the co-chairs of the group that developed the standard. Fischetti said that input gathered during the past few months by the EHR Collaborative was vital in forming the final document. "This reflects multiple iterations and multiple responses."

This isn't the first time the HL7 membership has considered a draft medical record standard; the first version of the standard was voted down last summer in a process that drew unusually heavy interest from the group's members. That ballot, however, was widely considered to be a trial balloon, and feedback that accompanied "no" votes was incorporated into the new effort.

The complexity of the standard has been severely reduced. The original version detailed more than 1,000 functions; the new ballot details 130. And the new ballot has drawn praise from officials at the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and the American Health Information Management Association.

Further buoying optimism are the results of a straw poll conducted at the Health Information and Management Systems Society meeting last month. The majority of those polled said they'd vote for the standard. And though Fischetti noted that the HIMSS straw poll voters aren't the direct ballot pool, she said the support was nonetheless heartening.

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