Electronic health-record systems are often called a disruptive technology. Not surprisingly, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is having a disruptive influence on the status quo of the national healthcare information technology policy apparatus.
The stimulus spending legislation, which passed and was signed into law in February with a huge section dealing with federal promotion of health IT, specifically calls for the creation of a healthcare information technology standards committee. The committee is to make recommendations to the national coordinator for health IT at HHS about implementation specifications and certification criteria for electronic exchange and use of health information.
The committee is the apparent replacement of the current Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel, which was created in 2005 as a private, not-for-profit organization but funded under a $3.3 million contract from HHS.
During a conference call with HITSP members, the organizations leadership announced it will be taking a 90-day hiatus from its scheduled business to focus on the needs outlined in the recovery act.
Under the Bush administration, the HITSP took its marching orders from HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt and an IT advisory panel he appointed called the American Health Information Community. The HITSPs job then was to identify the best data standards to facilitate the movement of healthcare information pursuant to specific data transactions, or use cases, given to it by AHIC.