Sunday, February 10, 2013

Children's EHR Format Announced

NIST is actively involved in EHR usability design to meet the needs of children and published the report “Human Factors Guide to Enhance EHR Usability of Critical User Interactions when Supporting Pediatric Patient Care.” 

The NIST report goes into detail concerning specific pediatric considerations such as the need to develop acceptable growth charts, provide more detailed medication records, provide access to complete information for multiple birth patients, develop specific records for high risk low weight neonates, plus provide special information to caregivers for the pediatric patient population.

According to Thomas McInerny M.D President of the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Until now many EHRs have lacked child-specific functionality such as the ability to record age-appropriate development, nutrition, immunizations, or growth”

On February 6th, AHRQ and CMS announced that they have developed a new children’s EHR format. The new EHR format includes recommendations for child-specific data elements such as vaccines and functionality that will enable EHR developers to broaden their products to include modules tailored to children’s health.

“Healthcare for children is a calling that presents special challenges,” said AHRQ Director Carolyn Clancy, M.D. “The new children’s EHR format will help software developers meet the needs of healthcare providers for children by combining best practices in clinical care and information technology, with contributions from healthcare providers who treat children every day.”

Specific topic areas in the new EHR format include prenatal and newborn screening tests, immunizations, growth data, information for children with special healthcare needs, and reporting child abuse.

The EHR format provides guidance on the 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.

Next steps include testing by two CHIPRA quality demonstration grantees that will include the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the State of North Carolina. Also, CMS will work toward integration of the format into future editions of the ONC’s EHR Standards and Certification Criteria. This would be required to receive “meaningful use” of certified EHR technology in future stages of the Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive programs.

Go to to view the NIST report. For more information on the AHRQ & CMS development of the children’s EHR format, go to