Recovery Room 4/22/10

While most of us were getting through spring breaks and filing taxes, the ONC and its advisory committees have been working overtime. No word on any annoncements of Final Rules yet but plenty of other happenings to report.

ONC launched a major initiative aimed at promoting research and innovation. Four renowned institutions — Mayo Clinic of Medicine, Harvard University, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign — were awarded research grants totaling $60 million through the Strategic Health IT Advanced Research Projects (SHARP) program. The SHARP Program funds research focused on achieving breakthrough advances to address well-documented problems that have impeded adoption of health IT and accelerating progress towards achieving nationwide meaningful use of health IT in support of a high-performing, continuously-learning health care system.

The original Federal Health IT Strategic Plan was published in June 2008.  The HITECH Act requires the ONC to update the current Strategic Plan. The updated Plan will outline objectives, milestones, and metrics related to HIE and associated privacy and security protections, EHR utilization, and will address the needs of under served populations to reduce health disparities.  It will address 2011 through 2015 but additionally lay the groundwork for continued innovation and progress beyond 2015. The Strategic Plan workgroup will develop the Health IT Strategic Framework for the HIT Policy Committee. The workgroup posted a draft HIT Strategic Framework and solicited comments through the FACA Blog.

Could the ONC and FDA combine efforts when it comes to certified EHR systems? The HIT Policy Certification and Adoption workgroup is discussing just that. While there are concerns of FDA regulation of EHRs, they do see collaboration in patient safety issues. Read the Straw Proposal from the workgroup.

All sixty of the HIT Regional Extension Centers have been announced and the grand total of $642 million was awarded. The RECs will offer technical assistance, guidance, and information to support and accelerate health care providers’ efforts to become meaningful users of EHRs. HITECH Answer subscribers can find a directory, links, and updates on the Centers as they get operational in the new Regional Extension Centers library wing.

HIT Policy NHIN workgroup presented its recommendations for the HIE Trust Framework to exchanging health information over the internet at the Policy meeting on Wednesday. Recommendations for the national-level HIE Trust Framework address elements for trust among parties in the exchange. The HIE trust framework is applied to a directed Push Model. View and listen to all of the meeting at the Policy Committee’s pages.


Finally, we have added some new download tools to our website. If you are a health care provider currently evaluating an EHR system check out our EHR Tools available.

We also recently partnered with Data Mountain to offer a Online Data Backup and Recovery Service Checklist  to give health care providers and business associates a jump on HIPAA Security Rule and HITECH Compliance. You can download this complimentary checklist at our HIPAA page.

And if you’re just interested in keeping up-to-date on HITECH Act news and information, you can sign up to receive our free newsletter and e-mail alerts.

Have a good week.