HIMSS Electronic Health Record Association weighs in on NwHIN Governance

The HIMSS’ Electronic Health Record Association (EHRA) is comprised of 41 companies related to electronic health record systems. They belong to the association to “lead the health IT industry in the accelerated adoption of electronic health records in hospital and ambulatory care settings in the US”. The association provides a forum which responds to policy in a unified voice. The Association is a partner of HIMSS and operates as an independent organizational unit within HIMSS. Membership is open to HIMSS Corporate Members companies that design, develop and market their own EHRs.

The following is yesterday’s press release from EHRA.

CHICAGO (June 20, 2012) – The Electronic Health Record (EHR) Association, a collaboration of 41 electronic health records suppliers, today submitted its response to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT’s Request for Information (RFI) Nationwide Health Information Network: Conditions for Trusted Exchange, expressing appreciation that this is an RFI, not a notice of proposed rule-making (NPRM) which gives all industry stakeholders the opportunity to engage in this important dialog.

“The ONC request for information provided a good framework to begin this process as we work to move the NwHIN forward as a foundational component of the national health IT infrastructure,” said Leigh Burchell, Vice President of Government Affairs for Allscripts and Chair of the Association’s Public Policy Leadership Workgroup. “We’re supportive of ONC’s clear direction that participation in the NwHIN would be on a voluntary basis, and are strongly recommending that the governance model be based on public/private sector collaboration.”

The Association provided specific recommendations regarding conditions for trusted exchange (CTEs), suggesting that the initial rules should focus on the governance model rather than the initial set of CTEs and their maintenance which should be the result of a governance framework, not the framework itself.

“We also request clearer definition of network validated entity (NVE). While the RFI includes some examples of organizations that may want to become NVEs, there is little reference to the parties among whom the NVE is facilitating information exchange,” added Charles Parisot, Architecture and Standards Manager for GE Healthcare IT and Chair of the EHR Association Standards and Interoperability Workgroup, which led the effort to develop this response.

Burchell added, “We see this RFI and the opportunity to provide input to this important strategy as another example of the transparency with which ONC has strived to operate since its inception. We look forward to the opportunity to bring our expertise, and the perspectives of our clients, to bear on the direction of this initiative.”

Read the complete RFI response at the EHRA web site.