The Health IT Standards Committee Endorses EHR Vocabulary

By Mary Mosquera, Government Health IT

The Health IT Standards Committee has endorsed a single set of vocabulary standards and a single guide for putting them in place for each area of quality reporting measures, an accomplishment that some individuals and groups have been working on for 10 years. The domains include medications, labs and allergies.

The committee will recommend to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT to incorporate the vocabulary standards and implementation guides in certification criteria for electronic health records (EHRs) for stage 2 of meaningful use.

Standards provide the common technical methods that can be installed in EHRs to support functions that improve care and help physicians and hospitals meet meaningful use.

ONC has offered choices of vocabulary standards associated with some quality measures in stage one, according to Dr. John Halamka, committee co-chair and CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

“Today we have achieved something that some of us have been working on for a decade. For the first time in history, we will be declaring a single set of standards for each domain with one set of implementation guides,” Halamka said at the Aug. 17 committee meeting. “This is truly a momentous event.”

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