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AHIMA, AMIA, EHRA Release Preliminary Report About Operationalization of the Definition of Electronic Health Information

CHICAGO – September 20, 2021 – The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA), and the Electronic Health Record Association (EHRA) announced today the release of a preliminary report that examines key issues related to the operationalization of the definitions of electronic health information (EHI) and designated record set (DRS).

How these definitions will be operationalized by clinicians and developers are critical to successful compliance with the Cures Act Final Rule. The Cures Act Final Rule includes interoperability requirements related to information blocking and health IT certification, both of which rely on the definition of EHI, which is grounded in the definition of the designated record set as defined by HIPAA.

Last year, AHIMA, AMIA, and EHRA formed a task force to develop recommendations for a consensus-based approach to operationalizing the definition of EHI. Advancing a consensus-based approach to the definition of EHI will assist actors — including providers, health information exchanges, health information networks, and health IT developers — in complying with the Cures Act Final Rule and setting expectations on what data is EHI.

Lauren Riplinger, AHIMA’s vice president of policy and government affairs, said the report highlights the substantial challenges the healthcare community faces in operationalizing the definition of EHI. She said the task force will seek stakeholder input on these preliminary findings and will continue its work ahead of October 6, 2022, when actors will be expected to adhere to the full scope of EHI for purposes of compliance with the information blocking provisions of the Cures Act Final Rule. Certification to the EHI export criterion — the process of electronic health records exporting EHI they’re storing — is expected by December 31, 2023.

“This preliminary report is a call to action for healthcare leaders to come together and advance a consensus-based approach to operationalizing the definition of EHI,” Riplinger said. “Thankfully, there is a real desire to have these conversations and make progress.”

“It’s rewarding to see industry stakeholders collaborate to understand the definition of EHI,” said Sasha TerMaat, an ex-officio chair of the EHRA who leads its EHI Task Force and director at Epic. “While this work is useful to us as developers, we hope it’s also useful to many other groups, such as providers, patients, and regulators.”

“It was clear from the outset that the fluid nature of the scope of EHI presents us a unique informatics challenge,” said Dr. Joseph Kannry, chair of AMIA’s Public Policy Committee. “We look forward to working further with our cross-stakeholder partners to try to ensure that we’re ready to meet these challenges head-on, so our patients will ultimately benefit.”

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About AHIMA
AHIMA is a global nonprofit association of health information (HI) professionals. AHIMA represents professionals who work with health data for more than one billion patient visits each year. AHIMA’s mission of empowering people to impact health drives our members and credentialed HI professionals to ensure that health information is accurate, complete, and available to patients and providers. Our leaders work at the intersection of healthcare, technology, and business, and are found in data integrity and information privacy job functions worldwide. www.AHIMA.org

About AMIA
AMIA, the leading professional association for informatics professionals, is the center of action for 5,500 informatics professionals from more than 65 countries. As the voice of the nation’s top biomedical and health informatics professionals, AMIA and its members play a leading role in assessing the effect of health innovations on health policy, and advancing the field of informatics. AMIA actively supports five domains in informatics: translational bioinformatics, clinical research informatics, clinical informatics, consumer health informatics, and public health informatics.

About the HIMSS EHR Association
The HIMSS EHR Association’s nearly 30 member companies serve the vast majority of hospitals, post-acute, specialty-specific, and ambulatory healthcare providers using EHRs across the United States. Our focus is on collaborative efforts to accelerate health information and technology adoption, assist member companies with regulatory compliance, advance information exchange between interoperable systems, and improve the quality and efficiency of patient care through the use of technology. For more information, visit www.ehra.org.

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