Mark McClellan, the former Food and Drug Administration and CMS administrator and brother to Scott McClellan, the former White House spokesman who recently released a tell-all book on his years in the Bush administration, appeared before the original AHIC to preview some of those work group findings. Mark McClellan heads up the healthcare policy wing at Brookings.
"We're reaching the conclusion of our initial part of this convening process," Mark McClellan said. "Phase II will set up an organization that comes out of the recommendation of this first group."
Mark McClellan said that the structure being envisioned is of a public-private membership "organization of organizations."
It will be funded only in part through membership dues and there will be a role for continued government funding.
"The organization can't be sustained by dues alone," he said. "It must have public and private partners."
But the plan also calls for financial support coming to AHIC 2.0 from "a funding model that puts a front-and-center focus on value for organizations that have a practical benefit from using interoperable IT," he said.
Under its current process, the original AHIC selects for development so-called "use cases," or specific events, such as moving laboratory orders and laboratory data between clinicians and laboratories. The task of selecting the appropriate standards to carry out the use case tasks was handed off to a federally supported Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel. The use cases enabled by the HITSP-anointed standards were then sent to another federally funded group, the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology, for incorporation into a testing and certification regime that would induce clinical IT developers to build them into their systems.
Mark McClellan said that the vision is to gain financial support for AHIC 2.0 through development of what is called "value cases," that is, use cases that also have sufficient value to industry segments that they would gain a return on investment funding them.
According to Mark McClellan, a key question for the success of AHIC 2.0 in the coming weeks or months is, "What are people going to be willing for the AHIC successor organization to do?" He said that the contractors and volunteer participants hope to flesh out answers to that question in the coming months.
The 79 members of the four work groups were selected from those who volunteered by the HHS contractors with input from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, according to a work group member. Not-for-profit, nonprovider organizations had 24 members; healthcare providers, 12; the drug industry and related groups, nine; government, eight; IT companies and an IT industry trade group, seven; insurance industry members and a payer trade group, six; consulting firms, medical societies, academic organizations and member associations for healthcare workers, three each; privacy advocacy organizations, one.
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