Health IT panel creating standards for national network

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The Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel (HITSP) is developing high-level standards towards a nationwide health information network for the U.S. So far, 90 standards have been selected related to biosurveillance, consumer empowerment, and electronic healthcare records which have been identified by the American Health Information Community (AHIC), according to a release.

HITSP is tasked with harmonizing the standards required as part of a nationwide healthcare data network. This week the panel plans to submit an initial list of recommended standards as part of its contract with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONCHIT). Further more detailed interoperability specifications will be submitted in September.

“Many of the things we’re working to do in the system are completely dependent upon these standards,” said Mike Leavitt, secretary of Health and Human Services, at a AHIC meeting earlier this month. “When we talk about comprehensive health reform, and we talk about being able to reduce medical mistakes... they are completely focused on the minute details it requires to actually make these systems work. I am very pleased with the progress that we have made to date.”

At the meeting, Leavitt also expressed support of an AHIC workgroup’s recommendations for federal agencies and departments with health lines of business to establish incentives for the use of HITSP-approved standards in their contracts where applicable.