The Health Information and Management Systems Society EHR Association, a collaboration of more than 40 EHR vendors, released an EHR Developer Code of Conduct.
“EHRs have become an essential component of quality care,” said EHR Association Chair Mickey McGlynn, senior director, strategy and operations at Siemens Healthcare. “Recognizing the transformative power of health IT, we offer this code of conduct as a reflection of our industry’s ongoing commitment to collaborate as trusted partners with all stakeholders.”
McGlynn said the group is aware of the importance of a transparent set of industry principles that reflect “our continued commitment to safe healthcare delivery, continued innovation and operating with high integrity.”
The EHRA worked with organizations representing physicians, hospitals, IT executives, consumers and the federal government who all provided input to the code. “The process has already helped build greater understanding and collaboration. We hope it will continue to serve as a platform for ongoing and collaborative dialog.”
Farzad Mostashari, MD, ScM, national coordinator of health IT, said it was “very positive to see this association coming together and making a statement about what we stand for and what we believe in.” The announcement, he said, shows that there are certain things the industry will compete on fiercely but not others, such as holding data hostage and letting people share information. “These things are important for the industry to grow as a whole. This work really requires all of us to work together and step up.”
McGlynn said the work group identified and included key concerns to the code of conduct to maximize the true value of health IT, including general business practices, patient safety, interoperability and data portability, clinical and billing documentation, privacy and security and patient engagement.
She offered several examples. EHR developers who adopt the code will commit to enabling their customers to exchange clinical information with other parties, including those that use other EHRs. Also, if a provider chooses to move from one EHR vendor to another, the current vendor will provide a standards-based export of their data. Regarding patient safety, companies that adopt the code acknowledge the importance of a dialog about patient safety and will agree to not contractually limit customers from discussing patient safety concerns. Also, companies adopting the code will make available information about their products’ approach to clinical documentation, coding and quality measures.
The efforts are “intended to complement government actions and not supersede them,” McGlynn said.
EHRA is the developer and sponsor of the code of conduct and adoption is at the discretion at each individual company. “We encourage all companies to adopt this code of conduct and actively promote their adoption and associated commitment,” McGlynn said. The organization will offer education to EHR developers through webcasts and an implementation guide. “The expectation is that this will lead to greater adoption across a greater set of principles.”