The Recovery Room – 11/3/09

The newly formed HIT Standards Implementation Workgroup with its chair, Aneesh Chopra, held a public hearing on adoption experiences last Thursday. The workgroup is charged with “bringing forward real-world implementation experience” into the HIT Standards Committee recommendations with strategies to accelerate the adoption of proposed standards. The four moderated panels from non-health care industries, providers, vendors, and quality measures, all presented testimony. I have to take back my previous quip about the non-health care industry panel. After some reading they appear to be almost rock stars in their own right. My apologies! I also found these panelists blogs, Adam Bosworth, Sean Nolan, Wes Rishel, and Dr John Halamka on their thoughts after the hearing.

Governor Bill Richardson appointed the New Mexico Health Information Collaborative (NMHIC), as the state’s official health information exchange (HIE). NMHIC will partner with MedPlus, the healthcare information technology subsidiary of Quest Diagnostics Incorporated. Maggie Gunter, PhD, president of NMHIC was quoted, “Our goal is to enable New Mexico health care organizations to deliver more efficient and timely patient care by providing streamlined access to vital information related to different aspects of the care process.  MedPlus has been instrumental in facilitating the seamless flow of data through all points and has provided a comprehensive Web-based portal that is the core of the HIE.” Read the full story.

Ann Arbor, MI  October 26, 2009, Thomson Reuters publishes a white paper reporting U.S. healthcare system wastes between $600 billion and $850 billion annually. The report identifies the most significant drivers of wasteful spending – including administrative inefficiency, unnecessary treatment, medical errors, and fraud – and quantifies their cost. It is based on a review of published research and analyses of proprietary healthcare data. Read the press release.

The Drummond Group with headquarters in Austin TX is a well known and trusted interoperability test lab. It has announced interest in expanding its services to include certification of EHR systems. If HHS opens up the certification process to applicants and Drummond applies and they are granted privileges they will be the first company to compete with the  Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT). The HIT Policy Committee has recommended there be multiple certification agencies. No final rule has been made on this, guidelines are expected from HHS in late December.

ONC David Blumenthal spoke at this years CHIME09 Fall CIO Forum. In getting back to the basics he outlined the four components that evolve from the HITECH Act; meaningful use of EHRs, establishment of HHS HIT Policy and Standards advisory committees, privacy and security of health data through HIPAA, and the incentive program for EHR adoption. He is also standing by a proposed rule to be out by the end of this year, the required 60-day public comment period, and HHS finalizing rules and definitions early spring next year.

CCHIT is seeking senior health care executive candidates to serve as Trustees and Commissioners. New terms for both boards begin in January 2010. Applications are available at and new appointments will be announced in December.

Have a good week.