FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Contact: HHS Press Office
New Public-Private Group Will Help Accelerate Health IT Adoption
Founding of Board of Directors an Important Step Forward for AHIC Successor
HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt welcomed the announcement today by AHIC Successor, Inc., that the public-private entity has established a board of directors to lead its efforts to accelerate the adoption of a nationwide, interoperable health information system.
The American Health Information Community (AHIC) was established in 2005 to unite the public and private sectors in a cooperative effort to provide the Secretary with recommendations to accelerate the adoption of health information technology. A primary focus of the federally chartered advisory committee has been on giving advice on the creation of common standards to allow for different systems to interact and exchange information in a system that ensures confidentiality, privacy and security for patients. The existing AHIC will complete its work by the end of the year.
AHIC Successor, Inc. will build on the accomplishments of the original AHIC. Its creation will establish the effort’s leadership in the private sector, while maintaining significant public representation. The board of directors was announced at a meeting of the existing AHIC.
The 15 members of AHIC Successor, Inc., board of directors represent a broad range of stakeholders from the health care and information technology communities, including health care providers, insurers, public health departments, employers, health care quality improvement organizations, and two consumer representatives.
“This is a key milestone for the health IT movement,” Secretary Leavitt said. “It will ensure that the critical work of the AHIC can be effectively leveraged so that interoperable health IT becomes a reality and that the benefits of health IT reach all Americans.”
“I enthusiastically support the new board and look forward to working in partnership with AHIC Successor to move the nation toward an effective, nationwide health information system,” Secretary Leavitt added.
To demonstrate the commitment of the federal government to the new organization, Secretary Leavitt and Veterans Affairs Secretary James Peake will serve as federal liaisons to the board. The National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, Dr. Rob Kolodner, will continue to coordinate federal input into the public-private process.
“In the three years since AHIC was created, we have established 52 harmonized standards for health information technology,” Secretary Leavitt noted. “I expect to recognize 60 additional harmonized standards by January 2009.
“So the concept of having the public and private sectors collaborate to advance standards development is working,” Secretary Leavitt said. “This model brings the benefits of government involvement to the table without the pitfalls of a politically controlled process picking winners and losers. These leaders and this new organization will play a vital role in building on that success and improving the quality of health care through the adoption of new, interoperable technology.”
To learn more about the AHIC successor and HHS’ health IT initiative visit http://www.hhs.gov/healthit/.
More information on the AHIC Successor, Inc., including a list of its board of directors, is available at http://www.ahicsuccessor.org
Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other press materials are available at http://www.hhs.gov/news.
Last revised: September 23, 2008