Over the past 2 weeks, David Blumenthal, the National Coordinator for Health IT and HHS announced members of the Health IT Policy and Standards Committees. Dr. John Halamka, author of Life as a Healthcare CIO and member of the policy committee, wrote about the committee’s first meeting on May 12, 2009.
The committee will focus on 6 priority areas:
- Meaningful Use
- Privacy and Security
- Health Information Exchange
- Public Health
Of note, Blumenthal stated:
“This is the first time in history that Congress has acted to correct some of the market errors in the healthcare information technology industry.”
Blumenthal is referring to the fact that most people agree health IT can improve quality, but adoption remains low in part due to market failure. The major payers in healthcare, insurers, stand to save a lot of money but providers have to pay for the implementation of EHR, CPOE, etc.
The million dollar question is “What is meaningful use?” Under the ARRA, the federal government will increase Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement for providers with EHR implementations that meat meaningful use criteria. The National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics (NCVHS) convened a Hearing on Meaningful Use of HIT on April 28. Entire agenda, transcript and slides are available online, including Dr. Blumenthal’s opening remarks. Blumenthal outlined 5 action points for the HIT Policy Committee to follow the NCVHS hearing:
- Define meaningful use. This is an unprecedented task. The HIT Policy Committee will need to pick-up where NCVHS left off. ONC also has an internal group working on this.
- Review certification, which is tied to meaningful use.
- Infrastructure. Congress has allocated billions to accelerate industry adoption including extension centers, money to support information exchanges, training workers, training health professionals who will use these technologies and funding to states to help providers not eligible for Medicare/Medicaid payments.
- Privacy and security. ONC will appoint a privacy officer
- Public health and disease surveillance
The HIT Standards Committee also met on May 15. Whereas the Policy committee’s role is to define what standards are needed and how those standards will be implemented, the Standards Committee will actually cover certification criteria and specifications for information exchange and use of health information. The committee’s “8 guiding principles”:
- Technologies that protect the privacy of health information
- A nationwide health information technology infrastructure
- The utilization of a certified electronic record for each person in the US by 2014
- Technologies that support accounting of disclosures made by a covered entity
- The use of electronic records to improve quality
- Technologies that enable identifiable health information to be rendered unusable/unreadable
- Demographic data collection including race, ethnicity, primary language, and gender
- Technologies that address the needs of children and other vulnerable populations
Dr. John Halamka is the vice-chair of the HIT Standards Committee and posted an excellent summary of the meeting in his blog post: The First Meeting of the HIT Standards Committee.
Official HHS communication of committee posts is below.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: HHS Press Office
Friday, May 8, 2009
HHS Announces Members of Committees That Will Advise on Implementation of Health IT Policy and Standards Committees Will Meet Next Week
The Department of Health and Human Services today announced the appointment of three members to the Health Information Technology (HIT) Policy Committee as well as members of the HIT Standards Committee. The two new federal advisory committees were established by the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009. The first meeting of the Health IT Policy Committee will be held on Monday, May 11 in Washington, D. C.
“The Policy and Standards committees bring together a wide diversity of key stakeholders to help guide the advancement of health IT as an integral part of health reform,” stated Dr. David Blumenthal, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS and Chairman of the Policy Committee. “It is an honor to lead one of these committees, and I am confident that these committees will provide valuable insight to help develop important health IT policy in the next few years.”
The HIT Policy Committee will make recommendations to the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology on a policy framework for the development and adoption of a nationwide interoperable health information infrastructure, including standards for the secure and private exchange of patient medical information.
The HHS appointees to the Policy Committee are:
David Blumenthal, MD, MPP,
National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Michael J. Klag, MD, MPH
Dean, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Deven C. McGraw, JD, MPH, Director
Health Privacy Project, Center for Democracy & Technology.
An additional 13 members were appointed by the Acting Comptroller General of the United States, and four members appointed by the Majority and Minority Leaders of the Senate and the Speaker and Minority Leader of the House of Representatives. A complete list of the Policy Committee members and information about the May 11th meeting can be found at http://healthit.hhs.gov/. The Presidential appointments from relevant federal agencies are expected to be announced prior to the HIT Policy Committee’s second meeting in June.
In addition, appointments were made to the HIT Standards Committee, also a federal advisory body, which is charged with making recommendations to the National Coordinator on standards, implementation specifications, and certification criteria for the electronic exchange and use of health information. The first meeting of this committee is scheduled for Friday, May 15, 2009.
Members appointed by HHS are:
Jonathan Perlin, MD, Chair
Healthcare Corporation of America
John Halamka, MD. Co-Chair
Harvard Medical School
Dixie Baker, PhD
Science Applications International Corporation
BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina
Christopher Chute, MD
Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
Janet Corrigan, PhD
National Quality Forum
John Derr, R.Ph.
Golden Living, LLC
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Steven Findlay, MPH
Douglas Fridsma, MD, PhD
Arizona Biomedical Collaborataive 1
C. Martin Harris, MD, MBA
Cleveland Clinic Foundation
Stanley M. Huff, MD
Elizabeth O. Johnson, RN
John Klimek, R.Ph.
National Council for Prescription Drug Programs
David McCallie, Jr., MD
Judy Murphy, RN
Aurora Health Care
J. Marc Overhage, MD, PhD
Gina Perez, MPA
Delaware Health Information Network
Sharon Terry, MA
James Walker, MD
Geisinger Health System
Representatives from relevant federal agencies will be named separately.
For more information about these committees, meeting dates and preliminary agendas please visit http://healthit.hhs.gov