HIMSS EHRVA, HIMSS Katrina Phoenix Project and HL7 Join Forces for Disaster Response

(October 14, 2005) — Statement of three-way collaboration:

  • Health Level Seven (HL7) Response and Recovery Taskforce
  • Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Katrina Phoenix Project
  • HIMSS Electronic Health Record Vendors Association (EHRVA) Gulf States Emergency Health Information Exchange

All three organizations have initiated efforts, independently and in parallel, to alleviate the tremendous loss of healthcare information by the patients and providers of the Gulf region affected by the hurricanes in the fall of 2005. After discussions among the planners of all three efforts, the following has been established:

Communication: HL7 Response and Recovery Taskforce Co-chairs Braithwaite and Alschuler have been added to the HIMSS Katrina Phoenix Response Advisory Board; Pat Wise of HIMSS has joined the HL7 Taskforce; Don Schoen, Charlene Underwood, Charles Parisot and Julia Zarb will represent EHRVA on the HL7 Taskforce. Additions will be made to EHRVA coordinating efforts as soon as these are formalized.

Planning coordination: The plans of each organization overlap in the sense that all seek to establish broad-based electronic health records for the affected population as part of the relief efforts, supplementing and coordinating with the ongoing efforts under the auspices of ONCHIT and the Markle Foundation. At the same time, planning within each organization necessarily plays to the strengths and resources of that organization and anticipates close collaboration with related efforts.

The initial focus of the three organizations is as follows:

  • HIMSS Katrina: communicating with affected population, primarily through state Quality Improvement Organizations (QIOs). Identification of (a small selection of) practices for initial EHR reconstitution efforts.
  • HL7 Taskforce: coordinating information triage through provision of applications and services to capture portable, standards-based electronic records in a variety of environments.
  • EHRVA: designing and profiling an emergency health information exchange with low barriers to entry for extraction of summary clinical information from local EHRs. This model is based on existing standards and leverages existing infrastructure and services –it closely parallels the work in progress for the Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) 2006 Connectathon and Demonstration.

As can be seen, these three areas of concentration are highly compatible and close collaboration and coordination will reduce redundancy of effort and allow better use of available time and resources. The three groups will coordinate during a weekly call, 3:00 PM EST on Fridays, hosted by the HL7 Taskforce.

This statement will be posted on the HL7 and HIMSS Katrina Phoenix and HIMSS EHRVA web pages and circulated to those overseeing relief efforts.