HHS names health IT standards group

The Health and Human Services Department last week named the members of a public-private group that will decide on standards and uses for health IT to enable physicians to exchange medical information.

The 16 members of the American Health Information Community include federal and state executives, company CEOs and representatives of the health care industry. HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt, who will be chairman of the panel, released details of the national collaboration in June.

AHIC's work in selecting interoperability standards is designed to advance the implementation of electronic health records, which promise to improve the quality of health care, reduce medical errors and cut costs.

'The community will adhere to an aggressive timetable that focuses on the areas of critical need, such as adverse drug event reporting and biosurveillance, as we get about the work of developing, setting and certifying standards,' Leavitt said.

AHIC's first meeting, which is open to the public, is set for Oct. 7 in Washington, D.C. Additional information is available at www.hhs.gov/healthit.

'The public-private nature of this group is designed to ensure that this nationwide transition to electronic health records'including common standards and interoperability'occurs in a smooth, market-led way,' said David Brailer, HHS' national coordinator for health IT.

AHIC, formed under the auspices of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, will be chartered for two years, with the option to renew and a duration of no more than five years. HHS intends for the group to be succeeded within five years by a private-sector health information community initiative that would set additional needed standards, certify health IT for standards compliance and provide long-term governance for health care transformation.

The AHIC members are:

  • Scott P. Serota, president and CEO of the BlueCross BlueShield Association


  • Douglas E. Henley, M.D., executive vice president of the American Academy of Family Physicians


  • Lillee Smith Gelinas, R.N., chief nursing officer for VHA Inc., a national alliance of nonprofit health care providers


  • Charles N. Kahn III, president of the Federation of American Hospitals


  • Nancy Davenport-Ennis, CEO of the National Patient Advocate Foundation


  • Steven S. Reinemund, CEO and chairman of PepsiCo


  • Kevin D. Hutchinson, CEO of SureScripts, a national alliance of pharmacists and drugstores


  • Craig R. Barrett, chairman of Intel Corp.


  • E. Mitchell Roob, secretary of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration


  • Mark B. McClellan, M.D., administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services


  • Julie Louise Gerberding, M.D., director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


  • Jonathan B. Perlin, M.D., undersecretary for health of the Veterans Affairs Department


  • William Winkenwerder Jr., M.D., assistant secretary of Defense


  • Mark J. Warshawsky, assistant secretary for economic policy in the Treasury Department


  • Linda M. Springer, director of the Office of Personnel Management


  • Michelle O'Neill, acting undersecretary for technology in the Commerce Department.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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