Only days after HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt released the names of the 16 commissioners who will sit on the American Health Information Community, some healthcare industry executives describe the appointees as being too far removed from the trenches to be effective.
Noticeably missing from the panel, they say, are representatives of the very people the AHIC intends to influence most -- the hands-on chief information officers and hospital managers who are charged with bridging computer infrastructures to track patient records and the critical data contained within, says Angela Haas, chief medical information officer at Susquehanna Health System in Williamsport, Pa.
Also noticeably absent from the task force are representatives from other major healthcare organizations whose members have a stake in healthcare IT: the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, the Healthcare Information & Management Systems Society, the American Health Information Management Association, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, and America's Health Insurance Plans.
But many of those groups say that they expect to be included in one or more of the working groups that AHIC members plan to rely on to help shape IT policy and procedures.
Leavitt announced the committee members on Sept. 13. He'll also chair the team, which is a mix of association and private industry executives, as well as representatives from federal agencies such as the CMS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Defense Department.