FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 12, 2008
Contact: HHS Press Office
HHS Secretary Highlights Contributions of Health IT Advisory Panel
The American Health Information Community (AHIC) -- a federal advisory committee established in 2005 to offer recommendations to HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt to accelerate the adoption of health information technology, or health IT -- formally concluded its work today.
“When I first convened the AHIC, I envisioned a health care system that put patients first; enabled better management of patient care; improved clinical outcomes; reduced errors; and increased convenience,” Secretary Leavitt said. “This type of system of connected care - where patients can access their health information any place at any time -- offers great promise to improve not only the care of each individual but to improve the well-being of the nation as a whole. While work remains to achieve that long-term vision, I am proud of the achievements the AHIC has made to significantly advance our nation toward it.”
Since its inception, AHIC has brought together more than 160 public and private sector health IT experts to develop recommendations for advancing health IT. Critical to the work of the AHIC has been the contributions of seven dedicated workgroups addressing diverse health IT topics ranging from patient and population needs to standards harmonization necessary to advance the use of health IT.
The AHIC held 25 public meetings and 176 public AHIC workgroup meetings resulting in 200 recommendations to Secretary Leavitt that addressed a wide variety of enablers and barriers to health IT. Some of the accomplishments resulting from AHIC’s recommendations include:
The development of 26 priority areas to serve as the basis for the identification of standards, certification and networking of health information systems. The standards, efforts advanced by the Health Information Technology Standards Panel, have resulted in the advancement and recognition of 52 interoperablity standards for health care and public health. An additional 60 standards are expected to be recognized in January 2009. These standards, based on AHIC-recommended priority areas, will be used in all applicable federal systems and contracts as well as in recognized software certification processes for commercial systems.
The development of a standards-based certification process for ensuring functionality, security and interoperability in electronic health records (EHRs) supported by the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT). Since its inception, CCHIT has certified nearly 60 percent of inpatient EHR vendors representing more than 75 percent of that market and, it has certified more than 50 percent of vendors of ambulatory EHRS.
The identification of needed outreach and incentives to spur the adoption of EHRs. Recommendations were set forth that enabled HHS’ Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to identify 12 communities to participate in a national Medicare demonstration project that provides incentive payments to physicians for using certified electronic health records to improve the quality of patient care. The five-year, first-of-its-kind project is expected to improve the quality of care provided to an estimated 3.6 million Americans.
The development of a nationwide survey methodology and analysis of the survey data using a standardized definition of adoption that will serve as the basis and future standard to assess the rate of EHR adoption in hospitals and physician offices.
Successful live demonstrations of the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN). The NHIN is a “network of networks” that will arise from public-private collaboration on a standards-based infrastructure that will enable broad, secure information exchange. The initiative has advanced from prototype development to a successful first demonstration of national data exchange among select NHIN participants in September 2008. The NHIN will demonstrate additional data exchange capabilities in December 2008.
The establishment of a dedicated Confidentiality, Privacy and Security Workgroup that addressed the needs for clear policies and procedures to ensure that appropriate privacy and security protections are developed and maintained for the electronic exchange of health care information. These recommendations will serve as the basis of a privacy and security framework for electronic health information exchange to be announced in December 2008.
The AHIC Successor, Inc. was established in July 2008 as an independent,public-private enterprise that will bring together the public, non-profitand private sectors for the creation and use ofa secure interoperable nationwide health information system.The AHIC Successor willaddress opportunities for action identified by the AHIC and is positioned to accelerate progress toward the development and adoption of health information technology. A new board of directors that includes three federal liaisons will begin operations in November 2008. Early efforts will focus on strategic planning and determining a prioritization process for health IT interoperability initiatives.“The talent, dedication and hard work by the AHIC board, its many workgroup members and the dedicated staff of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology was invaluable to me in shaping policy and program initiatives to advance health IT,” Secretary Leavitt said. “I want to express my deep personal thanks and gratitude to all those who gave their time, expertise and energy to improve the safety, efficiency and quality of health care through the advancement of health IT.”
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Last revised: May 7, 2011