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Agency to Announce Electronic Health Record Standards in December

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WASHINGTON – The technical standards needed by retail pharmacists and other health care providers to share electronic health records via a national interoperable network in the 2011 to 2015 time frame will be issued in December by the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology (HIT), a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The standards will be disclosed in an “interim final rule,” said John Klimek, senior vice president of industry information technology for the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs, Scottsdale, Ariz. Klimek, a former manager of pharmacy claims processing for Supervalu, sits on the ONC’s HIT Standards Committee.

Among the new standards, a certain version of the Script standard that governs e-prescribing will be named. In addition, RxNorm codes that identify a drug and its strength will be named as a standard, said Klimek, adding that SNOMED codes will be named as the standard for diagnoses instead of ICD9 and ICD10 codes.

“You’re going to see pharmacy software systems having to convert from NDC numbers to RxNorm codes, as well as using SNOMED codes,” he said.

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