FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Contact: HHS Press Office
HHS Announces Plan To Transition The American Health Information Community To Private Sector
HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt today announced timelines and key activities necessary to transition the American Health Information Community (AHIC) from a federal advisory committee to an independent, private-sector health Information Technology (IT) leadership entity.
The announcement, made at the 14th meeting of the AHIC, officially launches the transition plan and moves forward the national health IT agenda toward achieving President Bush's goal for most Americans to have access to secure electronic health records by 2014.
"Over the past 20 months, the AHIC has proven its ability to effectively and efficiently address the breadth of complex issues surrounding the advancement of better health care through health information exchange," Secretary Leavitt said. "Now we must preserve in the private sector the significant momentum the AHIC has created to engage key stakeholders across the health care spectrum to ensure long-term sustainability as a guiding force for health IT development."
As its charter mandates, the AHIC is required to explore the formation of an AHIC successor organization (ASO) in the private sector. The AHIC is expected to advance its recommendations to the Secretary so that the ASO may be in place by January, 2009.
Three contracts to develop potential business models for the future ASO were awarded to Avalere Health LLC, Booz Allen Hamilton and Alchemy LLC earlier this year. Each contract is valued at approximately $100,000. The proposed governance and business models will be evaluated and used to develop a prototype model of the ASO.
The ASO will be established as a voluntary public-private partnership within the private sector. It will seek to serve as the primary organization in the United States for leading the integration and use of health IT that is standards-based and interoperable while ensuring that health information is protected and portable.
Integral to the transition plan launched today will be a process to capture input from all interested parties. A more comprehensive plan will be developed during the summer. Key activities of the timeline for the AHIC transition to the ASO include:
June 2007: Review and analysis of the three potential ASO models. Evaluation criteria will be developed to identify most viable elements and practices from the three different ASO models;
August/Sept 2007: Public comment will be requested and synthesized and incorporated into next version of the ASO prototype model that will be presented to the AHIC. [When issued, the dates for the public comment period were July 2-20, 2007. This news release was updated on the Web on June 18 to reflect the new dates.] Further analysis and AHIC member feedback will be solicited to refine the transition plan;
September 2007: Final prototype and transition plan presented at the September 18, 2007 AHIC meeting;
Fall 2007: New entity formed and begins to operate as the new ASO;
Early 2008: ASO formed with interim Board and meeting schedule announced; and
January 2009: Permanent ASO Board selected.
"This aggressive timeline will ensure we continue to move to broad use of health information technology to help control costs and reduce medical errors," Secretary Leavitt said. "Patients deserve access to their health information so they can make the right health care choices for them, resulting in higher quality of care at lower cost for all Americans."
Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other press materials are available at http://www.hhs.gov/news.
Last revised: January 20, 2009