An Electronic Health Record (EHR) is a repository of information regarding the health status of an individual in computer processable form which is collected primarily to support the provision of integrated holistic health care to that individual but may also be used, subject to legislation and consent, for secondary purposes that benefit the health of the wider community.
In the increasingly complex environment of integrated patient health care, it is essential that information in the EHR can be shared between members of a multi-specialty and multi-disciplinary healthcare team, including the individual themself. This can only be achieved through standardisation of those aspects of the EHR and EHR systems necessary for interoperability – particularly, the structure and broad content of the record but, also, the processes and technologies used to manage and exchange EHR content. Standards to ensure the unique identification of subjects and providers and the privacy and security of the subject’s personal health information are also essential for the integrity and trust of EHR systems. Such standards will enhance the flexibility clinicians currently value in how they record and view clinical information in health records.