EHRA updates vendor code of conduct

HIMSS' Electronic Health Record Association (EHRA) announced Tuesday that it has revised its EHR developer Code of Conduct.

The revised code, dubbed Version 2, is the result of a "collaborative effort" of EHR members as well as several stakeholder groups, such as the American College of Physicians.  The code, which is voluntary, was first issued in 2013.

"Many" members of EHRA have adopted the Code of Conduct, according to EHRA.

Major changes include:

  • A new section of usability has been added that reflects the "critical importance" of this topic, elaborates on the role of user-centered design and best practices, and provides examples in how adopters of the Code could involve their clients in these activities.
  • The section on interoperability and data sharing has been updated to add more clarity on transparency on pricing models regarding interoperability and highlights the opposition to data blocking.
  • The sections on patient engagement, privacy and security have been expanded.

The Code also covers general business practices, patient safety and clinical and billing documentation.

"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" Leigh Burchell, association chair and vice president for health policy and government affairs at Allscripts, says in a statement. "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 vendor community has taken some heat in the past for some of its activities. It was recently revealed that not all vendors take usability seriously and that some didn't meet the required certification criteria on usability testing. EHRA itself received flak for some of the comments it made regarding information blocking and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT's interoperability report. 

EHRA's Code of Conduct may be a way for the industry to police itself and avoid government intervention.

To learn more:
- here's the updated document (.pdf)
- read the announcement (.pdf)
- visit the website