This is one of the reasons I keep talking about putting the “smart” people in key positions, as mentioned from this article from Modern Healthcare, the world is changing and so is Health IT, we need someone at the helm who understands and has some “hands on” experience and education in this area, otherwise, very little gets done. There’s much more added for responsibilities and control of the entire stimulus project than what AHIC had.
We now have an Office of the National Coordinator at HHS and who ever is at the helm there really needs some “on hands” Health IT expertise. The AHIC group did establish “standards” which seemed to take forever, but it was done.
With the funding now available for the stimulus bill, we really need people who know and understand where the money is best spent, people with Health IT “hands on” experience, and not just a figurehead to oversee. You don’t have to be a genius to see that EHRs and electronic medical records software are much more complicated and requires expertise way beyond what was required 6-7 years ago, thus having key figures who are in fact up to date and active in this area is imperative.
With HL7 and Continuity of Care standards alone, there’s much that can be done and most software companies are working to make sure at least these 2 general standards are available in one form or another so that all Health IT systems can communicate and exchange information. We have the technology out there to do all of this, but again, without some real “smart” people at the helm of each area, we go into slow motion and stagnate. If you have around 3 hours to spare, you can watch the video of the last AHIC meeting, and see what went on and listen to the membership. With the exception of about 1 hour I almost fell asleep, but I did make the effort to watch and wanted to be informed.
Only one person spoke with plans and ideas while the rest seemed to be off in a world of reading reports and figures which didn’t do a whole lot for me, but listen in and see what the “jet” has to say, and I found it somewhat interesting that everyone else was in awe of Dr. Halamka, one of whom I consider to be one of “smart” people we have on the committee or could certainly use in another key position, hands on and smart planning. Folks without the Health IT hands on knowledge and experience just can’t do this as without the overall concept of data architecture it’s impossible by today’s standards to completely dissect what needs to be done and the functionality required, but watch the video and make your own opinion, you have mine here. We are operating at a very high level of data integrity and integration today, we need those at the helm who get this and have some hands on experience to fall back on and carry a high level of transparency. BD
There will be some major changes in the way the federal government oversees its healthcare information technology program apart from the whopping increase in funding for IT system acquisition, according to the 300-plus pages of HIT-related language in the $787 billion, 785-page American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
The massive stimulus bill, signed into law Tuesday by President Barack Obama, extends congressional authorization to the Office of the National Coordinator at HHS. The law also gives the office broader authority to oversee federal IT promotion work than did the Bush administration, where HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt dominated the health IT policymaking apparatus.
Under the new law, the national coordinator is to “take a leading position” in setting up and running the new HIT Policy Committee as well as a new HIT Standards Committee, although it doesn’t appear the ONC head will control the membership of either committee.
Rod Piechowski, senior associate director for policy at the American Hospital Association, said he has “a pretty positive sense there is a door left open for the NeHC to become the standards committee. I think that was deliberatively done to allow that, which is a good thing. We can’t afford to lose momentum.”
Which is just fine with HITSP Chairman John Halamka, who concurred in an e-mail, noting, “We do not expect the structure/role of HITSP to change,” under the new law, but that NeHC might become the Standards Committee under the new configuration.