House subcommittee looks at government data standards to push HIT

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Implementing government data standards would speed adoption of electronic health records (EHRs), officials told the House Government Reform Technology Subcommittee this week. Without standards for sharing data among different organizations, EHRs could become redundant and fail to provide important care information, Subcommittee Chair Rep. Adam Putnam (R-Fla.) said.

"The consensus across the healthcare industry is that the time is right to establish universal clinical vocabulary and messaging standards to enable technology development which better supports exchange and sharing in a secure environment," said Putnam. He also said EHRs could provide rapid information in the event of an emergency or disaster scenario.

The Government Accountability Office also called for standards and commended the work of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Public Health Information Network (PHIN) in working toward standards. The PHIN is intended to connect state and local health departments, care facilities, federal agencies, public health labs and law enforcement to support real-time communication.