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New Children’s Electronic Health Record Format Announced!

A new database developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), with support from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), can help software developers create better Electronic Health Records (EHRs) for the care of children. The children’s EHR format establishes a blueprint for EHRs to better meet the needs of health care providers and pediatric patients by combining best practices in clinical care, information technology, and insights from experts in children’s health. Since few EHRs have been created with children’s needs in mind, gaps in functionality, data elements, and other areas tend to occur. The format guides EHR developers in understanding the requirements for functionality, data standards, usability and interoperability of an EHR system to more optimally support the provision of health care to children, especially those enrolled in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The format is readily accessible and adoptable by EHR developers for use during product development or enhancement.

The children’s EHR format was authorized by the 2009 Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA). 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 health care 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 health care 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.

In addition to providing guidance to developers, the format can provide guidance for EHR system purchasers and policy makers. For example, policy makers and purchasers can use the requirements when assessing functionality of EHRs. More information about the children’s EHR format is available on the AHRQ website.

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