Solid partnerships between state and federal government are key to delivering health information technology that not only drives down costs, but also boosts quality of care, according to a report by the Foundation of Research and Education, a division of the American Health Information Management Association.
In its ongoing study, AHIMA recommended that the federal government should greatly expand the power and duties of its 2-year-old American Health Information Community group, which advises HHS on how to more quickly put electronic records and other advances into the hands of healthcare providers and patients alike.
Under a set of four recommendations, the federal government would give AHIC oversight of health IT and quality and transparency initiatives, allow HHS to design a successor to AHIC with an eye towards public and private organizations by 2008, and give the federal government broader ability to fund health IT efforts at the state level in accordance with current laws.
The committee, which is made up of representatives from nine health information exchanges and other industry experts, also recommended that each state set up a formal health information exchange and that a formal liaison to AHIC be established through a new work group of states.
"There is urgency to these recommendations because states are full participants in the health IT transformation," Laura Adams, chief executive of Rhode Island Quality Institute and a member of the committee that conducted the survey, said in a statement.