Federal Commission On Health-Care IT Named
Eleven-member panel to work on technology standards and implementation in the health-care industry.
The CIO of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation is among the health-industry executives named to an 11-member federal commission to help the nation develop and implement health-IT standards that will serve as the foundation for establishing a system for universal electronic health records.
The Commission on Systemic Interoperability, established as part of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003, will work with the public and private health sectors to develop a strategy and timeline for implementing health-IT standards.
White PapersMore >>
Under the act, a total of 11 commission members were to be named by the president, speaker of the House, Senate majority leader, Senate minority leader, and House minority leader. Late last week, President Bush, Senate Majority Leader Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) announced their appointments. The appointments by the Senate and House minority leaders have not yet been named.
So far, Cleveland Clinic Foundation CIO Dr. C. Martin Harris--appointed by Bush--is the only CIO named to the commission. Other Bush appointees include the commission's chairman, Scott Wallace, who is president and CEO of the National Alliance for Health Information Technology; and Dr. William Stead, associate vice chancellor for health affairs and director of the informatics center at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Frist named Ivan Seidenberg, chairman and CEO of Verizon Communications Inc. of New York, and Vicky Gregg, CEO of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. Hastert appointees include Gary Mecklenburg, who is president and CEO of Northwestern Memorial HealthCare in Chicago, and Dr. Don Detmer, president and CEO of the American Medical Informatics Association.
Commission member Harris says among the group's first goals will be "to get a good look at the landscape, what exists, how will [an interoperable infrastructure] be deployed, and a focus on the gaps" that exist in building the nation's ability to share electronic health records. The commission will continue with work that's been done so far in the federal government toward identifying standards to help build a national health IT infrastructure. "We'll crystallize a number of [other] standards out there" that can help get the nation's health providers and other players on the same page in developing and implementing ways to share digital patient records nationally, he says.
"I'm honored to be part of the commission whose one umbrella goal is to focus on standards that will enable all Americans to have digitized health records in the next decade," says Harris. The commission is expected to deliver a report to Congress on the future of health IT standards by Oct. 31, 2005.