A parade of federal officials joined David Brailer, M.D., HHS' national healthcare IT coordinator, in Washington to hear his plan for the government to gain quick consensus on financial incentives, technical standards and a priority list for promoting healthcare information technology.
HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson called on the more than 1,000 attendees at the July 21 National Health Information Infrastructure summit to follow the government's lead.
"Virtually every other sector of the economy is charging into the 21st century. It's time for the healthcare industry to catch up," Thompson said. "The technology is there. The will is there. Now we've just got to put together the mechanics to implement it."
Among the catalytic efforts launched at the meeting were:
Reacting to the Brailer outline, William Bria, M.D., medical director of clinical information systems at the University of Michigan and president of the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems, says healthcare informatics "has been waiting for over 40 years for a clear, strong voice to articulate a national agenda." Brailer "met that challenge," Bria says.
The American Health Information Management Association, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society and the National Alliance for Health Information Technology announced they have set up a joint venture for the certification of ambulatory electronic health records. Steve Lieber, president and chief executive officer of HIMSS, says the three groups will hold a series of forums to ask vendors, users and payers what they would like to see in certification criteria, which they hope to have in place by April 2005.
The Brailer report is available online at hhs.gov/onchit/framework/hitframework.pdf.