Chicago — The National Alliance for Health Information Technology (Alliance) today released its final report, “Defining Key Health Information Technology Terms.” This report reflects consensus work completed over the last several months on definitions for six important health information technology (IT) terms.
Funded by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) this project was initiated in response to a growing need to address ambiguous and divergent definitions impeding health IT progress. The lack of clear terminology can lead to unintentional consequences for regulation, other forms of healthcare policy, contract and purchasing decisions and other health IT initiatives. The problem was highlighted by the Alliance’s literature review, which identified between 18 and 63 definitions for each of five key health IT terms: electronic medical record (EMR,) electronic health record (EHR,) personal health record (PHR,) health information exchange (HIE) and regional health information organization (RHIO.)
The Alliance convened two work groups of experts to develop consensus definitions for these five terms. Because of dual interpretations of HIE as both a process and an organization, it became necessary to clarify the difference between the process of information exchange (HIE) and the oversight and accountability functions necessary to support that process. The project’s Network Work Group therefore added and defined a sixth term, health information organization (HIO.)
“We have developed what we believe to be clear, consistent definitions that offer both immediate and longer-term, practical benefits. We have proposed language that is easily understood by non-technical leaders in health care delivery, policymakers with responsibility and accountability for decisions in the area of health IT, consumers who are being asked to participate more fully in their care and wellness and need education tools to do so,” says Jane Horowitz, the Alliance’s chief marketing officer who has led the ONC project.
The definitions are:
Electronic Medical Record
Electronic Health Record
Personal Health Record
An electronic record of health-related information on an individual that conforms to
An electronic record of health-related information on an individual that conforms to nationally recognized interoperability standards and that can be drawn from multiple sources while being managed, shared, and controlled by the individual.
Health Information Exchange
Health Information Organization
Regional Health Information Organization
The electronic movement of
A health information organization that brings together health care stakeholders within a defined geographic area and governs health information exchange among them for the purpose of improving health and care in that community.
The full report from the Alliance includes the specific definitions and summarizes the deliberations and conclusions of the two work groups. It concludes with a look forward, envisioning how the definitions, if adopted over time, can support an interoperable infrastructure to realize the benefits of health IT. A copy of the full report can be found here.
Source: National Alliance for Health Information Technology