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National Initiatives

This area provides additional detail on national HIT initiatives that the College supports. The content in this area will change as the priorities of the College and the MISC evolve. For the near term, the following initiatives will be included:

Government

ONC (Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology)

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) is at the forefront of the administration’s health IT efforts and is a resource to the entire health system to support the adoption of health information technology and the promotion of nationwide health information exchange to improve health care. ONC is organizationally located within the Office of the Secretary for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

ONC is the principal Federal entity charged with coordination of nationwide efforts to implement and use the most advanced health information technology and the electronic exchange of health information. The position of National Coordinator was created in 2004, through an Executive Order, and legislatively mandated in the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) of 2009.

Health IT Policy Committee

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) provided for the creation of an HIT Policy Committee under the auspices of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). The HIT Policy Committee is charged with making recommendations to the National Coordinator for Health IT on a policy framework for the development and adoption of a nationwide health information infrastructure, including standards for the exchange of patient medical information.

Later that year, the HIT Policy Committee formed several workgroups to further the work of the FACA Committee. These workgroups are comprised of stakeholder representatives and subject matter experts. The HIT Policy Committee’s workgroups are: Meaningful Use Workgroup, Certification/Adoption Workgroup, Information Exchange Workgroup, NHIN Workgroup, Strategic Planning Workgroup, Privacy & Security Policy Workgroup, and Enrollment Workgroup.

Health IT Standards Committee

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) also provided for the creation of an HIT Standards Committee under the auspices of the FACA. The HIT Standards Committee is charged with making recommendations to the National Coordinator on standards, implementation specifications, and certification criteria for the electronic exchange and use of health information. Initially, the HIT Standards Committee will focus on the policies developed by the Health IT Policy Committee.

The HIT Standards Committee also formed several workgroups to further the work of the FACA. These workgroups are comprised of stakeholder representatives and subject matter experts. The HIT Standards Committee’s workgroups are: Clinical Operations Workgroup, Clinical Quality Workgroup, Privacy & Security Workgroup, and Implementation Workgroup.

FHA (Federal Health Architecture)

The Federal Health Architecture Initiative (FHA) represents a unique opportunity to build partnerships across communities of interest throughout the nation's health care environment in the development of a truly integrated and effective health information exchange network. FHA will enable the employment or migration of existing systems to meet citizen-centric business activities while providing clear rules for the development of new tools for improved performance and access to health related information and services throughout the national health arena. Participants other than the Department of Health and Human Services include Department of Homeland Security, Veterans Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Agriculture, Department of Defense, and Department of Energy.

NCVHS (National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics)

The NCVHS serves as the statutory [42 U.S.C. 242k(k)] public advisory body to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services in the area of health data and statistics. In that capacity, the Committee provides advice and assistance to the Department and serves as a forum for interaction with interested private sector groups on a variety of key health data issues.

The Committee is composed of 18 individuals from the private sector who have distinguished themselves in the fields of health statistics, electronic interchange of healthcare information, privacy and security of electronic information, population-based public health, purchasing or financing healthcare services, integrated computerized health information systems, health services research, consumer interests in health information, health data standards, epidemiology, and the provision of health services. Sixteen of the members are appointed by the Secretary of DHHS for terms of four years each, with about four new members being appointed each year. Two additional members are selected by Congress.

AHRQ (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality)

The health services research arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), complementing the biomedical research mission of its sister agency, the National Institutes of Health.

  • Home to research centers that specialize in major areas of health care research:
  • Quality improvement and patient safety.
  • Outcomes and effectiveness of care.
  • Clinical practice and technology assessment.
  • Health care organization and delivery systems.
  • Primary care (including preventive services).
  • Health care costs and sources of payment.

A major source of funding and technical assistance for health services research and research training at leading U.S. universities and other institutions.

A science partner, working with the public and private sectors to build the knowledge base for what works—and does not work—in health and health care and to translate this knowledge into everyday practice and policymaking.

Interest Groups

PEHRC (Physicians’ Electronic Health Record Coalition)

In July 2004, 14 preeminent medical organizations, representing more than 500,000 U.S. physicians, announced the creation of the Physicians' Electronic Health Record Coalition (PEHRC). This groundbreaking health care coalition will assist physicians, particularly those in small- and medium-sized ambulatory care medical practice, to acquire and use affordable, standards-based electronic health records and other health information technology to improve quality, enhance patient safety, and increase efficiency. The coalition is committed to taking practical steps to educate physicians about the value and best use of electronic health records (EHR), and to assist them in selection of systems, as well as to help focus the market on high-quality and affordable products.

eHealth Initiative (eHI)

The eHealth Initiative and the Foundation for eHealth Initiative are independent, non-profit affiliated organizations whose missions are the same: to drive improvement in the quality, safety, and efficiency of healthcare through information and information technology.

Both organizations are focused on engaging multiple and diverse stakeholders--including hospitals and other healthcare organizations, clinician groups, consumer and patient groups, employers and purchasers, health plans, healthcare information technology organizations, manufacturers, public health agencies, academic and research institutions, and public sector stakeholders--to define and then implement specific actions that will address the quality, safety and efficiency challenges of our healthcare system through the use of interoperable information technology.

Our vision is that consumers, health care providers, and those responsible for population health will have ready access to timely, relevant, reliable and secure information and services through an interconnected, electronic health information infrastructure to support better health and healthcare.

Connecting for Health – Markle

Connecting for Health is a public-private collaborative designed to address the barriers to development of an interconnected health information infrastructure. The ability to deliver medical information where and when it is needed in a private and secure manner will help to improve the quality of care, reduce medical errors, lower costs and empower patients.

The first phase of the Collaborative's work drove consensus on the adoption of an initial set of data standards, developed case studies on privacy and security, and helped define the electronic personal health record (PHR). Connecting for Health is currently working to develop an incremental Roadmap intended to lay out near-term actions necessary to achieving electronic connectivity. To carry out its work, Connecting for Health has organized several working groups focusing on understanding the business and organizational issues of community-based information exchange, the issues relevant to sharing electronic information with patients, and several aspects of technical interoperability.

Connecting for Health was established by the Markle Foundation and receives additional funding and support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society)

HIMSS is exclusively focused on providing leadership for the optimal use of healthcare information technology and management systems for the betterment of human health. HIMSS represents more than 13,000 individual members and some 150 member Health I.T. corporations that employ more than 1 million people. HIMSS shapes and directs healthcare public policy and industry practices through its advocacy, educational and professional development initiatives, which are designed to promote information and management systems' contributions to quality patient care.

HIMSS EHR Association (EHRA)

The EHR Association is comprised of industry experts in the field of healthcare information technology with a broad scope of expertise such as medical and clinical informaticists, physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and technology experts who not only represent the EHR software industry but also interact and represent the entire healthcare community. The EHR Association offers unmatched experience and expertise, and provides a forum and structure for EHR leaders to work toward standards development, interoperability, the EHR certification process, performance and quality measures, HIT legislation, and other EHR issues.

The association is a partner of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) and operates as an independent organizational unit within HIMSS for companies who are EHR software solution providers. The EHR Association helps HIMSS establish its strategic direction and official positions on issues related to the electronic health record.

AHIMA (American Health Information Management Association)

The American Health Information Management Association is a community of professionals engaged in the field of health information management. AHIMA provides support to members and works to strengthen the industry and profession. It represents more than 45,000 specially educated health information management professionals who work throughout the healthcare industry. Health information management professionals serve the healthcare industry and the public by managing, analyzing, and utilizing data vital for patient care and working to make this information accessible to healthcare providers when it is needed most.

AMIA (American Medical Informatics)

The American Medical Informatics Association is the leading academic/scholarly organization in the United States dedicated to the research, development, and application of medical informatics in the support of patient care, teaching, research, and healthcare administration. AMIA intends to be, for medical informatics, what the ACP is for internal medicine.

AMIA's individual members are physicians, nurses, dentists, biomedical engineers, medical librarians, researchers, scientists, educators, students and other healthcare professionals who have a strong interest in medical informatics. The Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA) is the premier U.S. journal in the field, and the AMIA annual meeting is the primary academic gathering for the specialty. Recently, AMIA has become active in public policy issues that have informatics components.

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