AHIMA launches new health IT evaluation program
The American Health Information Management Association’s (AHIMA) Foundation of Research and Education (FORE) is launching a new project to use the consolidated health informatics (CHI) standards accepted by the Department of Health and Human Services for federally required assessment instruments used in long-term care.

The project will apply approved CHI standards to the nursing home minimum data set (MDS) and home health outcome assessment information set (OASIS), validate the accuracy and impact of the application of the CHI standards and develop guidance for using accepted standards for the exchange of standardized assessment and patient summary data.

The work from the project will enable post-acute and long-term care vendors, as well as providers, to develop and implement EHRs and health IT (HIT) products that will be functional in the emerging interoperable nationwide health information network. Also, the project will provide policy makers with additional information to support implementation of HIT standards for federally required patient assessments.

AHIMA/FORE has assembled a team skilled in data and exchange standards to meet the six principal deliverables that will be developed to accomplish the goals of the assistant secretary for planning and evaluation request for proposal:

1. Create a sample Health Level Seven (HL7) clinical document architecture (CDA) for the exchange of MDS data and assess the potential and requirements for a general CDA MDS solution.

2. Create a sample HL7 continuity-of-care document that incorporates data from the federally-required assessment and other patient summary information for use in transfer of care between acute and long-term care facilities.

3. Apply logical observation identifiers names and codes representations and semantic matching codes to MDS and OASIS and validate the accuracy of the encoding using subject matter experts.

4. Investigate the intellectual property implications for disseminating standardized MDS, OASIS and IRF-PAI assessments, and develop recommendations for disseminating the HIT encoded instruments.

5. Validate the accuracy of the HIT standards applied to the nursing facility assessment instrument through the use of hypothetical MDS data and analyze the payment impact.

AHIMA said the project also will work with representatives at the National Library of Medicine to make the HIT standards enhanced assessment instruments available through the unified medical language system.