Recommendations Adopted

On Friday, the HIT Policy Committee had their monthly meeting. The usual suspects were there and the three workgroups along with the Standards Committee’s workgroups presented recommendations and updates. In the end, recommendations from both the Certification/Adoption and the Information Exchange workgroups were accepted by the committee.

The Certification/ Adoption workgroup’s presentation outlined, in more detail from last month, their 5 recommendations. They recommended a new HHS Certification process that focuses on Meaningful Use, security, privacy, interoperability, and separates who defines criteria and who certifies systems. To achieve this they will Work with NIST on accreditation process, leverage the current certification process with CCHIT 2008 Certification, and expand certification to include software sources and components that have been otherwise left out of the current process.

Co-chair Paul Egerman stated that they want an outcome focused process, striving for the objectives not just the measurements. They want a preliminary certification process to begin as soon as possible even before completion of regulatory process. CCHIT has submitted a report that identifies the Gap Criteria from the 2008 Certification and that is where they will begin the short term transition.

The workgroup took comments and questions for close to an hour after the presentation. There was concern if CMS would be ready for reporting and translating that into incentives. There was still support on limiting the number of certifying organizations citing Medical School certifications using one. Blumenthal jumped in on that not seeing how that could happen. And what about the education of these certifying organizations? Who would be doing this and how? Blumenthal says ONC will take the responsibility for educating what he called partners and they were “actively” thinking about that. After a final push with semantics on the word support as opposed to achieve, the recommendations were adopted by the committee.

The Information Exchange workgroup presentation “The Scope of Federal Activity” also brought more detail and clarity from their last month work. The health information exchange today is “spotty and piecemeal”. There are barriers that prevent the market from moving forward that will obviously require “getting over”. Using ARRA funding correctly can help create a “value proposition for health exchange”. The workgroup believes the incentives are the “most powerful lever of change”. The federal intervention must find the right balance, too little won’t break barriers, too much will stifle innovation and be stuck with what exists today.

And like the Certification recommendations through all the comments and questions the yeas have it for the four recommendations submitted by the workgroup. The basic recommendations are, information exchange requirements, core requirements, certification of interoperability components, and aligning federal and state efforts and bringing existing efforts into alignment.

The next meeting is scheduled for September 18, 2009.