HHS provides assessment of health IT accomplishments

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued a progress report regarding its accomplishments towards health IT adoption and interoperability initiatives. The agency has been working at a good clip ever since President Bush, via an Executive Order in 2004, established the position of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. That position’s goal has been the establishment of Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN). To do this, one primary objective has been the establishment of uniform standards for the healthcare industry.

Various projects have been undertaken to advance health IT by HHS, with highlights including the establishment of the American Health Information Community (AHIC), a federal advisory committee devoted to developing “adoption of interoperable electronic health IT in a smooth, market-led way”; contracting private sector entities to evaluate and recommend ways to overcome health IT adoption roadblocks; working with the Health Information Technology Standards Panel (HITSP) to establish interoperability specifications; developing EHR certifications via the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT); promoting value-driven healthcare initiatives, and several others.

For this year, the agency already has unveiled four prototype architectures for a Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN) and plans are in place to “connect the prototypes and state and regional health information exchange efforts in ‘trial implementations’ that will make up the ‘networks of networks’ of the NHIN, according to the report.

AHICformed workgroups will unveil recommendations in the following areas: confidentiality, privacy and security; quality; and personalized healthcare, HHS said.

HHS said “state privacy and security assessments, solutions, and implementation plans will be presented and used to consider national policy issues.”

CCHIT will broaden its EHR certifications to inpatient systems which should “significantly increase patients’ (and their subsequent providers’) access to the health information generated during a hospitalization,” HHS said.

To read the full report: http://www.hhs.gov/healthit/news/Accomplishments2006.html