HIMSS Electronic Health Record Vendors Association Prepares Membership for CDA Standard

In the Spirit of Harmonization, HIMSS EHRVA Sponsors Members Workshop on HL7’s Clinical Document Architecture Standard

(CHICAGO – August 9, 2005) – The HIMSS Electronic Health Record Vendors Association (EHRVA), a 34-member coalition of leading electronic health record (EHR) vendors, in conjunction with Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE), sponsored its first workshop focused on the Health Level Seven (HL7) Clinical Document Architecture (CDA) and the CDA Implementation Guide for Care Record Summaries (CRS). Reflecting EHRVA’s commitment to leadership in pursuing a single standard for interoperability, 31 attendees and 16 organizations were represented at this initial event, held on Aug. 8, in a series of IHE co-sponsored educational seminars and webinars.

“Interoperability standards have puzzled the industry for some time now. Events like ours demonstrate a high level of cooperation among vendors. We see value in supporting a single standard and we agree on the need to find the best means for clinical content delivery and technical viability,” said Charlene Underwood, EHRVA chairperson and director, government and industry r elations for Siemens Medical Solutions. “ Our customers want plug-and-play interoperability that is scaleable and our responsibility as vendors is to look at the right technology frameworks to get that done.”

The EHRVA interest in CDA has resulted, in part, from a close working relationship with IHE, an initiative sponsored by healthcare information technology professionals and industry associations to improve the sharing of healthcare information via the coordinated use of established standards. EHRVA members are also actively working with IHE to plan and participate in the annual demonstration of interoperability standards at the 2006 Annual HIMSS Conference & Exhibition in February 2006.

The strength of the CDA infrastructure and its growing popularity among national stakeholders prompted the EHRVA to promote more understanding of its specifications. HL7’s leadership and commitment to providing a standards platform to handle the broad range of expected EHR interchange transactions—as well as its industry-accepted XML format—make it an ideal platform for EHR developers to support. Reflecting many years in development by HL7, the CDA can be a Care Summary, Discharge Summary, Referral, Progress Note, History and Physical, Public Health Report and any other form that carries a signature.

The EHRVA is continuing its emphasis on achieving interoperability through internal work groups and participation in government and industry initiatives. “As technicians and architects, vendors will be responsible for implementing whatever standards emerge. We need to understand all the repercussions of the decisions we make,” said Donald G. Schoen, EHRVA board member and CEO/president of MediNotes Corporation. “A united vendor community could embrace, develop and deliver an interoperability solution in a short time frame.”


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. The association provides a forum for the EHR 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 34 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.