A timeline for transitioning the American Health Information Community from a government advisory panel into an independent, private-sector "leadership entity" by January 2009 was released by HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt today.
The plan calls for establishing an AHIC successor organization as "a voluntary public-private partnership" to lead national efforts for the integration and use of health information technology "that is standards-based and interoperable while ensuring that health information is protected and portable," according to an HHS news release.
In April, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology hired three contractors to develop possible business models, they included one huge, one midsize and one small consulting firm: Booz Allen Hamilton, McLean, Va.; Avalere Health, Washington; and Alchemy, also based in Washington. The contracts were for about $100,000 each.
An evaluation of the three plans will be conducted this month to identify the most viable elements and practices. Public comment will be taken from July 2 to July 20 and incorporated into a prototype that will be presented to and analyzed by AHIC members in August and September.
According to Leavitt's timeline, a final prototype and transition plan will be presented at AHICs Sept. 18 meeting, and the new organization will be formed and begin to operate in the fall. An interim board is expected to be named early next year with a permanent board selected in January 2009, the news release said. -- by Andis Robeznieks