In an invitation posted Feb. 12 on the Federal Advisory Committee Act, or FACA, blog, Aneesh Chopra called on members of the public to post questions and comments “about implementation opportunities and challenges you are facing today and for which you would either like to share or would welcome support.”
The postings from the public were to advise members of the implementation work group of the federally sanctioned and supported Health IT Standards Committee before its next meeting.
Chopra is the chief technology officer of the U.S. and a special adviser to President Barack Obama on technology. He hosted a two-hour panel and listening session last week at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society meeting in Atlanta, where he spoke about creating a national IT “commonwealth.”
Chopra also serves as chairman of the HIT Standards Committee implementation work group, which met Monday.
The response from the commons to Chopra's call was less than overwhelming. The individual postings contained solid advice; it's just that only five people contributed.
For example, one posting was from health IT worker and blogger Brian Ahier, who serves on a work group of Oregon's Health Information Technology Oversight Council. The council was established by state law to coordinate electronic health-record adoption efforts there and to help develop a statewide system for health information exchange.
Ahier gave a rundown of Oregon's multiple, broad state IT efforts thus far, but said he immediately realized, “There will need to be a sustained focus on rural and small providers to ensure that we have as wide adoption and connectivity as possible.”
Veteran physician informaticist and IT consultant Eric Fishman posted his advice that planning is crucial to an efficient EHR implementation.
“In my opinion, the most important predictor of successful EHR implementations is preparedness," Fishman wrote in his post in response to Chopra on the FACA blog.
“Physicians who complete a detailed readiness assessment are much more likely to set and achieve realistic expectations for Health IT,” Fishman wrote. “It is critical that physicians very specifically set practice goals for EHR adoption; develop EHR project management teams; evaluate staffs' attitudes toward existing technology; identify protocols for conflict resolution and negotiation; and determine an operating budget for the EHR process.
“Preparation is time-consuming, but it's time well-spent,” Fishman wrote.
Members of the health IT community who missed posting in advance of the work group meeting still have an ongoing opportunity to serve as federal advisers.
Chopra said the emphasis of the work group he chairs “is on facilitating effective and efficient implementation of meaningful-use standards,” adding, “we hope this forum and our other public activities will be a place where success stories are highlighted, resources are shared and problems avoided. Your active participation is an important component to our mutual success in achieving meaningful use.”
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