Children's Electronic Health Record Format

What is the Children’s EHR Format?

The Children’s Electronic Health Record (EHR) Format was developed to bridge the gap between the functionality present in most EHRs currently available and the functionality that would more optimally support the care of children. Specifically, the Format provides information to EHR system developers and others about critical functionality, data elements, and other requirements that need to be present in an EHR system to address health care needs specific to the care of children, especially those enrolled in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). To address these needs, the Format includes a minimum set of data elements and applicable data standards that can be used as a starting point or checklist for EHR developers seeking to create a product that can capture the types of health care components most relevant for children. The child-specific data elements and functionality recommendations are sorted into various topic areas, including—

  • Prenatal and newborn screening tests
  • Immunizations
  • Growth data Information for children with special health care needs
  • Well child/preventive care

The Format allows for interoperable exchange of data, including data collected in school-based, primary, and inpatient care settings; is compatible with other EHR standards; and facilitates quality measurement and improvement through collection of clinical quality data. The Format was authorized by the 2009 Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) and developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) in close collaboration with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). For more information on other AHRQ-supported work related to the CHIP Reauthorization Act, click here.

How Can I Use the Format?

The Children’s EHR Format is not just for EHR developers. EHR system purchasers, policymakers, and child health advocates may also find the Format a useful tool for understanding the current requirements necessary to optimally support the care of children. To assist these other groups in using the Format, we have developed specialized instructions that can be accessed in the Documentation and User Guide available on the Format's home page.

What Should I Know About HL7 and the Format?

The Children’s EHR Format contains portions of the Health Level Seven International (HL7®) Child Health Functional Profile Specification, release 1, and modifications thereof, developed by HL7, the copyright of which is owned by HL7. Portions of the Format that contain excerpts from the HL7 Child Health Functional Profile are identified in the Provenance Field. Use of HL7 copyrighted material is governed by copyright law and HL7’s policies related to the use of HL7 Intellectual Property (IP). For more information on HL7’s IP Policy, go to

How do I Access the Format?

Access to both the full and abridged Format is available by clicking here.

Last Modified: December 2013