The Waiting Room – week of 7/11/10

It has been some time since we have done a Waiting Room post, but it seems appropriate in the likelihood of the final rules this week. All eyes and ears are on CMS and ONC to release their final rules this week. Last week the rules were sent to the Office of Management and Budget which is required before publishing in the federal register. There have been plenty of reports naming the 14th for the release date. We shall see.

The ONC plans to expand the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN) to include the private sector. In a presentation at the last Standards Committee, Mary Jo Deering, senior policy advisor in the ONC Office of Policy and Planning reported on the need for a governance structure. Look for a request for information seeking public comments on the governance structure in August. From this the plan calls for a proposed rule early next year and a finalized rule in the summer of 2011. As always for the best recap of any Standards Committee meeting, turn to Dr. John Halamka’s Life as a CIO blog.

The temporary EHR certification rules are in place and applications are being accepted to become an Authorized Testing and Certification Body (ATCB). The ATCBs are expected to be operational by late summer and Certified EHRs are expected by this fall. ONC Blumenthal calls the temporary certification program for electronic health records and EHR modules “a bridge to the second, permanent certification. A second rule on the permanent process would be coming later this year”. For more information visit the ONC Certification Program pages.

The HIT Policy and HIT Standards committees meetings will take place on July 21 and 28 respectively. The agenda’s have no been posted yet. For a full schedule and participation instructions to the committee and workgroup meetings, visit the ONC Federal Advisory Committees (FACAs) pages.

Last week we introduced Dr. William Hersh, Professor and Chair, Department of Medical Informatics & Clinical Epidemiology, Oregon Health & Science University as one of our expert contributors in his post on ONC workforce development. In his blog, the Informatics Professor, a recent post tells us there will be jobs, just wait. Read his post, Where Are the Jobs? Read While You Wait.

Calling Ellen Page! Cisco unveiled the Cius that looks like their answer to the iPad. The device is an ultra-portable, mobile collaboration business tablet that offers access to essential business applications and technologies. Who will be the first of the healthcare vendors to integrate this? Customer trials of Cisco Cius will begin in the third quarter of calendar year 2010, with general availability in the first quarter of calendar year 2011. Read their press release.

And finally, HITECH Answers will be debuting a newly designed web site soon. As the focus of the HITECH Act is moving to reality, our focus will be on continuing to educate on the subject as well as offer tools and resources that will help practices meet the meaningful use requirements. Be on the look out for our new site in the next few weeks.

Have a good week.