U.S. Health IT czar optimistic for EHR goal set by Bush
Despite widespread suspicions, Robert Kolodner, head of Healthcare and Human Services Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT, said that the United States is currently on track to meet President Bush’s goal of deploying interoperable EHR capabilities throughout the United States by 2014. 

In a speech at MedInfo 2007 in Brisbane, Australia, Kolodner commented on an “orchestra of activity” that makes him optimistic about the future of health IT. He said this confidence is based on the increased interest in EHRs from physicians, standards development and the early results from a series of interoperability use cases the federal government is funding.

Kolodner said that the first year of EHR certification exceeded his expectations, as about 40 percent of U.S. ambulatory EHR vendors earned certification.

The health IT czar also spoke of the controversial plan to transition the American Health Information Community (AHIC) advisory board to the private sector. “It’s a voluntary membership organization that we envision,” said Kolodner.

On Sept. 5, an AHIC committee will meet to work on some particulars, but Kolodner expects a final announcement on the AHIC’s future by November, triggering a transition period tentatively set to run through March 2008.