HHS releases children's EHR format

An electronic health record (EHR) format designed specifically for children should help guide EHR developers to understand the types of information that should be included in EHRs for pediatric patients.

The new format was announced this week by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Many existing EHR systems are not tailored to capture or process health information about children, the organizations noted in the press release, but the new format for children's healthcare includes recommendations for child-specific data elements such as vaccines and functionality that will enable EHR developers to broaden their products to include modules tailored to children's health.

The new children's EHR format will help software developers meet the needs of healthcare providers for children by combining best practices in clinical care, information technology, and the contributions of healthcare providers who treat children every day, noted AHRQ Director Carolyn Clancy, MD.

The format includes a minimum set of data elements and applicable data standards that can be used as a blueprint for EHR developers seeking to create a product that can capture the types of healthcare components most relevant for children. Child-specific data elements and functionality recommendations are sorted into topic areas that include prenatal and newborn screening tests, immunizations, growth data, information for children with special healthcare needs and child abuse reporting. The EHR format provides guidance on structures that permit interoperable exchange of data, including data collected in school-based, primary and inpatient care settings. The format is compatible with other EHR standards and facilitates quality measurement and improvement through the collection of clinical quality data.

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