Are you aware of the
national efforts underway in support of the
interoperable exchange of healthcare information? If
you attended the fall WEDI conference, you may have
learned about the Office of the National Coordinator for
Health Information Technology (ONC) and the various
subgroups that have been marching to their own beat.
Lesley Berkeyheiser, from
N-Tegrity Solutions Group, helped construct the fall
WEDI session clarifying content of the multi-group
alphabet soup from ONC: AHIC, HITSP, HISPC, CCHIT.
Each subgroup has a specific purpose.
AHIC is the national
consumer focused group charged with creating “use case
scenarios” relating to the world of health care. With
the use cases, you begin to understand how data
traverses the health care channels from provider to
insurer to consumer and others.
The use cases created by
AHIC are then handed off to other groups such as HITSP.
HITSP’s job is to follow the scenarios in the use cases
and break down the technical ways data is handed off.
Items such as similar ways to authenticate information,
control access and synchronize time are reviewed and a
“standard” way to handle the data is then set forth as a
CCHIT concentrates on the
vendor products that need to trade health care
information. This group of volunteers defines
functionality points that software products (and vendors
creating those products) should assure are available in
their latest versions or offerings. This step is
critical in the interoperability picture so we can
assure that all of our critical path systems and
applications are “talking” the same language.
HISPC’s job is to review
the variations of privacy laws across state boundaries
and recommend a common or standard way for them to be
blended. Remember, if the state law is more stringent
than HIPAA then it would preempt the federal rules.
In theory, once we truly
reach interoperability of sharing data, the health care
industry should be able to trade information much like
the banking industry. As a patient, we could have a
test performed on the east coast in the morning and we
could continue our care on the west cost in the
afternoon with an entirely different provider being able
to review the results of that test.
You may have heard that
the Department of Health and Human Services awarded a
large grant to LMI Consulting of McLean, VA and the
Brookings Institution to develop AHIC 2.0. The goal is
to create a self-sustaining private sector organization
that would make recommendations to DHHS on the adoption
of health information technology.
The AHIC successor
organization just held its first public meeting on March
10. Additional public meetings are scheduled for April
8 and May 30. Click
here to see the agenda of the March meeting.
Four transition work
groups have been established and volunteers are being
sought to work on these groups:
Organization and Governance (led by Dr. John Tooker,
American College of Physicians)
Membership (led by Dr. Jonathan Perlin, Hospital
Corporation of America)
Business Sustainability (led by John Glaser PhD,
Partner’s Health Care Boston)
Transition from AHIC to AHIC 2 (chairman to be named)
For more information on
ONC and the AHIC work you can review the respective web