Children's EHR Format: Frequently Asked Questions

The Format is a set of child-specific requirements (and other requirements of special importance for children) that an electronic health record (EHR) should meet to perform optimally for the particular needs of children. The Format is intended to describe EHRs that will meet the needs of health care providers who treat children by combining best-practice clinical standards and Federal standards for information technology. The Format reflects the contributions of clinical experts who treat children. Some frequently asked questions and answers about the Format are below.

Select to download print version of Children's EHR Format: FAQ (PDF File, 76 KB).

1. What is the children's electronic health record (EHR) Format?

The Format is a set of requirements that contains child-specific items (or items of special importance for children) that identify the incremental functionality (beyond what is needed for adults) that an EHR should have to meet the particular needs of children. The Format expands upon the hierarchy created by HL7® for the EHR-S Functional Model and incorporates the HL7 Child Health Functional Profile.

2. Who would use the Format?

The Format can be valuable to various audiences, including developers of EHR software who want to ensure their systems optimally address the needs of children; purchasers of EHR software to enable them to assess the degree to which EHR systems support the care of children; child health advocates who want to influence the future development of EHR products for children; and standards and certification organizations that could leverage selected requirements to specify best practices or certification criteria.

3. What kind of requirements are in the Format?

The Format includes over 700 requirements statements related to the general care of children that directly inform specific functionality. The requirements are organized hierarchically under "headers" and "functions." The specific requirements are called normative statements and include one of the following normative verbs:

  1. SHALL (denoting required system behavior).
  2. SHOULD (for recommended system behavior).
  3. MAY (for permitted, desirable system behavior).

4. What types of system gaps does the Format cover?

The Format covers EHR functionality related to the care of children in the following areas:

  • Activity Clearance.
  • Birth Information.
  • Child Abuse Reporting.
  • Child Welfare.
  • Children With Special Health Care Needs.
  • Growth Data.
  • Immunizations.
  • Medication Management.
  • Newborn Screening.
  • Parents and Guardians and Family Relationship Data.
  • Patient Identifiers.
  • Patient Portals—PHR.
  • Prenatal Screening.
  • Primary Care Management—acute and chronic.
  • Quality Measures.
  • Registry Linkages.
  • School-based Linkages.
  • Security and Confidentiality.
  • Special Terminology and Information.
  • Specialized Scales/Scoring.
  • Well Child/Preventive Care.

5. Who do I contact if I have questions or comments or want to provide feedback regarding the Format?

You can send comments or questions to

6. How can I stay informed about the progress of the Format and when it will be publicly released?

Join the Children's EHR Format email list. Send an email to and type SUBSCRIBE ChildEHRformat in the body of the email message. Leave the subject line of the email message blank. After sending the message, a confirmation message and instructions on how to use the email list will follow.

Page last reviewed October 2014
Page originally created February 2012
Internet Citation: Children's EHR Format: Frequently Asked Questions. Content last reviewed October 2014. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.