What information exists to assist in selecting pediatric friendly EHRs?
As with making any big decision, pediatricians will likely seek guidance to help them select the appropriate EHR for their practices. Important features to consider are whether the functionalities provided by the EHR fit the needs of the pediatric population, the potential financial impact of the EHR, and whether the EHR fits within the framework of Meaningful Use as presented by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Some of the key provisions mentioned under the definition of Meaningful Use include that the EHR should have the capacity to:
Providers will also need to consider the vendor offering the EHR when making a selection. There are many vendors offering EHR products today, with some specializing in pediatric and child-friendly EHR systems. The AAP, along with the Council on Clinical Information Technology (COCIT), has developed a website listing many vendors and their EHR products. This Web-site contains comparisons and reviews from actual users of these EHR systems. In addition to visiting this Web-site, providers may find it helpful to connect with other sites that are similar, to conduct site visits to practices utilizing certain EHR systems of interest, and to ask vendors to walk through specific scenarios so that providers can better understand product capability. It is important for practices to develop relationships with vendors and ensure that technical support will be available when needed.
Certification is also an important aspect to consider when selecting an EHR. In 2006, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services acknowledged the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT) as the first Recognized Certification Body (RCB). Certification helps to establish the criteria necessary for EHRs, and it can provide purchasers a certain amount of confidence before committing to a particular EHR system. The Child Health Work Group of CCHIT states that its role is:
to ensure that EHR products and health information exchanges address the health IT requirements of caring for this special population by developing criteria and test scripts to be added to other certification categories as an option for certification.
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