Established in 2004, the Electronic Health Record Association (EHRA) brings together companies that develop, market, and support electronic health records (EHRs), to collaborate on issues that impact our businesses and our collective customers — hospitals and providers that represent the majority of EHR users in the US. We work together to speak with a unified voice on these topics in a non-competitive, collegial effort to understand, educate, and collaborate with all stakeholders engaged with EHRs and health information technology.
The EHRA operates on the premise that the rapid, widespread adoption of EHRs is essential to 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.
Our core objectives focus on collaborative efforts to accelerate health IT adoption, advance interoperability, and improve the quality and efficiency of care through the use of these important technologies. We strive to engage the EHR software developer community and other stakeholders regarding EHR and health IT standards development, EHR certification processes and criteria, interoperability, patient safety, EHR usability, privacy and security, electronic performance and quality measures (eCQMs), health IT-focused public policy, and other EHR-related issues that are the subject of increasing government, payer, and provider focus.
We strive to represent our customers’ perspectives, based on our collective experiences in successfully implementing EHRs in organizations of virtually all sizes and specialties. The EHR Association shares their success stories to help ensure that the practical application and operation of EHRs is considered in national and local health IT initiatives. The EHRA provides valuable input to regulators to bring this balanced perspective to the rule-making process, with the objective 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.
In June 2013, the EHR Association introduced the EHR Developer Code of Conduct (www.ehra.org/ASP/codeofconduct.asp). As our members have a long tradition of working with their customers to improve care, increase efficiencies, enhance patient safety, and provide better outcomes, we believe that the Association is best positioned to put forth these business guidelines for all EHR developer companies. 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 EHRA 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 EHRA is actively engaged with professional organizations that represent providers, both hospitals and physicians, to promulgate a better understanding and open dialog regarding health IT adoption, EHR usability, patient safety, meaningful use, quality improvement, and other public and private programs focused on relevant topics. Our shared objective is to ensure that there is agreement on how these issues relate to meaningful and safe EHR adoption and use in all healthcare delivery environments. As these important activities move forward, we will provide advice to regulators and other stakeholders on best practices in the areas of meaningful use, clinical documentation, EHR deployment and training, the implementation and reporting of eCQMs from EHRs, and user-centered design as an integral part of EHR development and deployment.
The Association routinely provides testimony, comments, and education to legislators and policymakers, and has been called on increasingly to do so since its inception in 2004. We have ongoing and 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 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, 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 is led by an Executive Committee and is comprised of workgroups that focus on standards and interoperability, patient safety, delivery system reform, quality measurement, clinician experience and usability, public policy, certification, privacy and security, and meaningful use. Based on the premise that “many heads are better than one”, the workgroups engage the skills and expertise of individuals from member companies to identify and understand the broad set of activities impacting our companies and our customers, creating position statements, white papers, and comments on proposed legislation and regulations, as well as education and tools for members, their customers, and other industry stakeholders. These include Quick Start Guides for CDA/CRS and CCD, the Interoperability Roadmap (Third Edition), and The Value of EHRs (a compendium of case studies of successful EHR use). This information is available to all on the Association’s website (www.ehra.org), along with a long list of materials including Congressional testimony and responses to requests for public comments on a wide variety of industry and regulatory issues.
Membership in the EHR Association is open to any HIMSS Corporate Member that develops, installs, and supports EHRs in the US. Go to www.ehra.org/ASP/callForMembers.asp for details, or contact Sarah Willis-Garcia, EHRA Program Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The opportunity to have an important impact on the adoption of EHRs and the proliferation of the benefits these systems can deliver is extraordinary. By working together, we are able to have real influence on initiatives that impact all of our companies and, most importantly, all of the patients and families that our provider organizations serve.
-Carl Dvorak, Epic Systems and Chair Emeritus of the EHR Association