Health IT panel vows to support physician, hospital daily practice

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Members of the Health IT Standards Committee, established to advise the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), said it would create three work groups to pursue that agenda in the areas of clinical operations, clinical quality and privacy and security.

On Friday, at the first committee meeting since being created by the economic stimulus law, Jonathan Perlin, MD, the committee chairman and chief medical officer of the Healthcare Corp. of America, said that clinical operations could include transmitting lab results, patient summaries and medication lists, reported Government Health IT.

The standards will underpin health information applications that constitute "meaningful use," as required under the stimulus law to receive federal incentives.

Under the stimulus law, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) must establish interim standards to support meaningful use in a rule-making process by Dec. 31.

The work groups must report on standards that are already established in the three focus areas by July, and by mid-August, they must report on standards that are required, those that need to be harmonized and gaps that need to be fixed, according to Government Health IT. The committee will then provide recommendations to the National Coordinator for Health IT, David Blumenthal, MD.

The Healthcare IT Standards Panel (HITSP) already has developed many health IT standard sets for specific health "use cases" or operational scenarios over the last several years. The information will be available through an electronically published index instead of burying the vocabularies and transmission standards in a specification document, according to the committee.

"We just want to focus on the uses and what doctors and hospitals have to get done in their daily work," Blumenthal said. "The concept of taking what has been done and reconfiguring it so it is related to us is very functional. We don't have time to remake the world."