Health IT Briefing Marks National HIT Week
To mark the important role health information technology (HIT) plays in improving healthcare delivery in America, more than 170 partner organizations have joined together for National Health Information Technology Week, June 14-18. With the theme: One Voice, One Vision: Transforming Health and Care
, the 5th Annual National Health IT Week kicked off with a health IT briefing in Washington DC, yesterday.
Participating in the briefing were four of the 178 National Health IT Week partner organizations, including the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), the Electronic Health Record Association (EHRA), and the College of Health Information Management Executives (CHIME). Neal Neuberger, executive director of the Institute for e-Health Policy, served as the briefing moderator.
Neuberger started the briefing by providing an overview of where we are today with health IT and where we might go moving forward. According to Neuberger, "The healthcare system is complex and diverse, so solutions to ‘e-enabling' healthcare are complex and diverse. These are not so much technological issues, but complex organizational issues that require some sophisticated approaches involving literally millions of players. We need to put our money where our mouths are, pressing into service 2.0 and social networking tools to address these challenges collaboratively."
Following Neuberger was Justin Barnes, chairman of the EHRA, which represents a majority of the commercially available, installed and operational electronic health records (EHRs) in the U.S.
"As evidenced by the EHR Association Interoperability Roadmap, now in its third update, our members are committed to achieving interoperability among EHRs and other HIT to achieve secure health information exchange," said Barnes. "And we are committed to designing products that enhance patient safety."
Speaking on behalf of CHIME, David Muntz, FCHIME, senior vice president and CIO of Baylor Health Care System in Dallas, discussed how Baylor, like countless hospitals and physician practices, large and small, urban and rural, across the country, is preparing for meaningful use through clinical transformation. "While we make these sweeping changes, care never stops," Muntz explained. "Patients will continue to seek our help. Quality must increase. Cost must decline. Privacy must be protected. The pressures are enormous."
Barry P. Chaiken, MD, MPH, FHIMSS, HIMSS Board Chair, agreed with Muntz, stating that as some National Health IT Week participants go to Capitol Hill, they should be encouraged to ask their representatives for three things: that any future policy pertaining to EHR incentive programs under ARRA balance meaningful use criteria/measures with industry readiness without delaying the timeline for implementation; that Congress enable the study of an informed patient identity solution; and that Congress work with the Administration to make the current physician self-referral regulation exemptions and anti-kickback safe harbors permanent.
Activities surrounding National Health IT Week continue through the week until June 18. For additional information about National Health IT Week, including a calendar of events, visit www.healthitweek.org.