HIMSS Electronic Health Record Vendors Association Marks First Anniversary of Landmark Collaboration

Working collaboratively to enhance adoption of health information technology (HIT) in support of President Bush’s mandate that all Americans have electronic health records (EHRs) by 2014, the EHRVA’s 40 member firms are credited with significant year-one milestone accomplishments.

CHICAGO – (November 15, 2005) – As evidence of how rapidly the EHR market is coming together, EHR vendors met this week to acknowledge and celebrate their accomplishments related to interoperability, certification, standards and EHR adoption. Marking its first anniversary, the HIMSS Electronic Health Record Vendors Association (EHRVA) has more than doubled its initial membership, and continues to gain momentum as a consortium including the majority of leading national EHR firms—who, in turn, impact the majority of national healthcare provider organizations and their patients. 

"Over the past year, the HIMSS EHRVA has consistently demonstrated strong strategic vision coupled with tireless efforts to give the industry excellent leadership in times of significant change and activity,” said  H. Stephen Lieber, CAE, President and CEO of Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS). 

“While action is important, making a difference is what counts.  In our first year, we are proud of gaining recognition for our vendor-neutral collaborative spirit, providing collective representation, and increasing EHR vendor contributions in key industry forums,” said Charlene Underwood, EHRVA Chairperson and Director, Government and Industry Relations for Siemens Medical Solutions. First year accomplishments include the alignment of members to publish an Interoperability Roadmap, work in support of interoperability standards and involvement with EHR certification efforts. In the coming year, EHRVA will be actively engaged with the ONC contractors who are now funded to pursue this work on a more formal basis.

EHRVA members converged in Chicago to participate in a forum on standards development, the EHR certification process, interoperability, performance and quality measures, and other EHR issues.  In addition to executive committee elections — which maintains equal representation of enterprise and ambulatory vendor representatives — EHRVA also committed to aggressive outreach activities and membership education.

"The spirit of the group is strong and this week’s dialogue reflects goals that are shared by all members," commented Andy Ury MD, Co-Chair of EHRVA and CEO of Physician Micro Systems Incorporated. "The EHR is a core ingredient for driving fundamental change in this nation’s healthcare delivery — and we all recognize our obligation to share our collective expertise in developing and deploying EHRs and also to do everything we can to drive interoperability among our systems. This cooperation will build our market and better serve our customers."

The group reviewed the organization’s accomplishments during its first year, including:

  • EHRVA responses to Health and Human Services (HHS)/ Office of the National Coordinator for Healthcare Information Technology (ONC) Request for Information (RFI) in January 2005 and Proposals (RFPs) in June 2005 have resulted in the organization and/or its members being involved in funded demonstration projects and the official standards harmonization entity.
  • The EHRVA Interoperability Roadmap (http://himssehrva.org/ASP/initiatives.asp#ONCHIT), developed for the National Health Information Network (NHIN) RFP response is gaining recognition in the ongoing dialogue about standards and interoperability with organizations such as Health Level Seven (HL7) and Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) where EHRVA has board-level representation.  The EHRVA interoperability strategy will be integral to the IHE Interoperability Showcase and RHIO demonstration at the 2006 Annual HIMSS Conference & Exhibition in February 2006.
  • Through board-level participation as well as individual members’ involvement, EHRVA will continue its work on standards harmonization with the Health Information Technology Standard Panel (HITSP) that has been created with the award of the ONCHIT Standards Harmonization RFP to ANSI and the collaborative RFP response team on which EHRVA participated.
  • EHRVA affected progress through its detailed responses to the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT) Phase One and Phase Two reports.  EHRVA has had commissioner- and work group-level representation in the process since CCHIT’s inception last year.
  • EHRVA responded to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) RFI on Personal Health Records, providing commentary on the benefits and drawbacks of this technology model and emphasizing the necessity of interoperable EHRs as the foundation for the complex healthcare information environment to enable consumers to manage their health using PHRs.
  • EHRVA worked in consultation with ONC, the Markle Foundation, HL7 and HIMSS after Hurricane Katrina to frame an appropriate technology response, recovery and preparedness strategies.  EHRVA proposed a Gulf State Emergency Health Information Exchange based on an accelerated version of its current interoperability strategy.  EHRVA will continue its Katrina response work with the HIMSS Katrina Phoenix Project which will coordinate contributions of software, hardware and support for recovering physicians’ practices in the Gulf Region.
  • EHRVA issued a statement of support for HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt and the American Health Information Community (AHIC), and has initiated outreach efforts to ensure that AHIC is well versed in EHR-related issues.

EHRVA’s successful year exemplifies the power of collaboration as the group continues to affect issues crucial to achieving the benefits of widespread EHR utilization to improve patient care delivery efficiency and quality. 


HIMSS EHRVA is a trade association of Electronic Health Record (EHR) vendors who have joined together to lead the HIT industry in the accelerated adoption of electronic health records in hospital and ambulatory care settings in the US. Representing an estimated 98% of the installed EHR systems in the US, the association provides a forum for the vendor community to speak with a unified voice relative to standards development, the EHR certification process, interoperability, performance and quality measures, and other EHR issues as they become subject to increasing government, insurance and provider driven initiatives and requests. Membership is open to HIMSS corporate members with legally formed companies designing, developing and marketing their own commercially available EHRs with installations in the USA.

The association, comprised of 40 member companies, is a partner of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) and operates as an organizational unit within HIMSS. For more information, visit http://www.himssehrva.org

Julia Zarb
Zarb Consulting