Waiting Room 12/13/09

If you don’t know we are in the final lap of the first leg of the race, you just haven’t been listening. This week and through to the end of the year all ears will be tuned to Blumenthal and his HIT committees. The ONC and HHS are slated to issue the proposed rules to implement the HITECH Act incentive program, initial HIE data standards, implementation specifications, certification programs and criteria, along with their definition of meaningful use of EHRs. Blumenthal says in his blog we will “see meaningful use criteria (from CMS) in a matter of weeks.  We also anticipate publishing in early 2010 our proposed plans for establishing a new certification program, which we believe will enable most vendors to have their products certified by 2011.”

The HIT Policy Committee will meet on December 15th. We will hear from all the workgroups including the newest ones.

  • The NHIN workgroup is charged with creating a policy and technical framework that allows the internet to be used for the secure and standards-based exchange of health information, in a way that is open to all and fosters innovation.
  • The Privacy & Security workgroup, the counterpart to the Standards group, was charged to create recommendations based on results of the September Privacy hearing. The workgroup will be co-chaired by Deven McGraw, director of the Health Privacy Project at the Center for Democracy and Technology, and Rachel Block, executive director of the New York eHealth Collaborative and deputy commissioner for health IT transformation at the New York State Department of Health. Check out who else is in the workgroup.
  • The Strategic Planning workgroup will be a joint Policy and Standards effort to consider framework/guiding principles for work of the committees with respect to creation of Nation-wide, interoperable, private and security health information system.

On December 16th the NHIN workgroup will be holding a public hearing. You can participate by phone at 1-877-709-8152 or webconference here . The committee will be discussing the nationwide health  information network (NHIN), and will be hearing testimony from stakeholder groups. Look for preliminary background information on the meeting on the committee’s web page.

This week will end with the HIT Standards Committee’s meeting on Friday the 18th. The agenda has yet to be posted and the web site states the meeting is dial-in only. We are expecting to hear news on the upcoming interim final rule on certification.

Finally, the ONC announced that the application response to Regional Extension Centers was strong enough to award approximately 30 centers in January and additional awards to be made in March. Preliminary applications for cycle 2 grants are due December 22nd and full applications on January 29, 2010.

Have a good week.