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EHR Association Updates its Developer Code of Conduct

February 24, 2016
by Rajiv Leventhal
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The Electronic Health Record Association (EHRA), a Chicago-based trade organization comprised of EHR vendors, and partner of HIMSS, has released an updated version of its EHR Developer Code of Conduct.

The Code, a transparent set of industry principles that reflect a commitment to safe healthcare delivery, continued innovation, and high integrity, was developed by the EHRA and first introduced in June 2013, the Association’s officials said. The Code applies to EHR developers, which might be stand-alone companies or divisions or business units of companies with other non-EHR lines of business. This revision is the result of a collaborative effort of EHR Association members, many of whom have adopted the Code, along with several stakeholder groups that provided feedback during the update process. The Code is being made available to the entire health IT industry.

Major changes in Version 2 of the Code include a new section on usability that reflects the critical importance of this topic, elaborates on the role of user-centered design (UCD) and usability best practices, and provides examples of how adopters of the Code might involve their clients in those activities.

What’s more, the section on interoperability and data sharing was also updated to add greater clarity on provisions regarding transparency to companies’ clients on pricing models, including components related to achieving interoperability.  The Association also reiterated its strong commitment to standards-based, cost efficient information exchange where it is valuable to the healthcare provider and/or the patient, and highlighted its opposition to data blocking. 

The EHR Association consulted with key stakeholder groups during the work to update the Code. Russell P. Branzell, president and CEO, College for Health Information Management Executives (CHIME) expressed CHIME’s support for the new version of the Code. “CHIME applauds the Electronic Health Record Association for updating its EHR Developer Code of Conduct. The revisions reflect the rapid changes we are seeing across the industry since the Code was first released in 2013.  The amended Code reflects the growing demand for increased transparency, security, and usability of health IT systems.  We are also encouraged that the revisions recognize the urgent need to adopt standards and achieve true interoperability.  We must work collaboratively across the industry to realize the potential for health information technology to transform healthcare,” Branzell said in a statement.

Leigh Burchell, association chair and vice president for health policy and government affairs at Allscripts, added, “We are very encouraged that the Code has gained wide recognition among EHR developers, as well as the broader industry, including provider organizations and policymakers. Their feedback was important as we looked at how the health IT industry has evolved since the Code was released in 2013 and what changes should be considered.”

The Code of Conduct also covers general business practices, patient safety, and clinical and billing documentation. The Association will continue to encourage adoption of the EHR Developer Code of Conduct by all companies that develop EHR technology, regardless of whether they are members of the EHR Association, its officials said.

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