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ONC Blog – Federal Advisory Committee – Judy Sparrow

Posted on October 29, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

All I can say is that it’s very cool that ONC now has a blog. This is probably right up there with when I found past HHS secretary Mike Leavitt’s blog. Ok, yes I am a complete blog nerd. At least I’m able to admit it up front.

Basically, Judy Sparrow has just done an introduction post where she talks about the Federal Advisory Committees and their role at ONC. She’s the ONC liason for these committees and so hopefully she’ll keep us updated on progress with these two very important committees. She also provides this explanation about the committees in her first ONC blog post:

“FACAs” get their name from the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which lays out the guidelines for such committees. FACAs are advisory and intended to provide external guidance to the government. Typically members of the group are not federal employees. They are also very open committees – meetings are held in public, information on the meetings is posted in the Federal Register, and all FACA records are readily available. At the very root of the FACA mandate is transparency and collaboration.

ONC has two FACAs – the HIT Policy Committee and the HIT Standards Committee. These committees were established to obtain outside advice or recommendations on key health information technology topics from leaders who represent various stakeholder groups.

I think we generally knew this, but it was nice to have a bit more background. This would have been really useful 6 or so months ago when these committees were a new thing (at least for me).

I hope that Judy is able to keep the blog up to date and that it won’t just turn into an announcement site. I hope Judy will provide real content about the process, timelines and perspectives of ONC. If she does that, then it will be really interesting and a great part of the EMR conversation which is already happening on blogs like this one.

Meaningful Use Draft Document

Posted on June 12, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

The healthcare IT airwaves are abuzz with the date of June 16th.  That’s the date that they say we should get more indications on how the government is going to define the all important term “meaningful use.”  Here’s a short quote from John Halamka about the meaningful use dates:

On June 16th, the Quality workgroup will receive meaningful use guidance from the HIT Policy Committee. We’ll work hard over the following week and will present our strawman standards, implementation guidance, and certification criteria at the June 23rd public meeting of the HIT Standards Workgroup. We’ll continue to refine the matrix in July and complete our work in August.

John Halamka also described the format for the HIT Standards Committee’s meaningful use document:

On the call we discussed that the HIT Policy Committee will review a draft of meaningful use criteria at its June 16th meeting. Once this draft is delivered to the HIT Standards Committee, its workgroups can review the standards and certification criteria which map to meaningful use. Imagine a 4 column table

Column 1 – An aspect of meaningful use i.e. e-Prescribing

Column 2 – The standards and implementation guidance needed for meaningful use i.e. NCPDP Script 10.5 and RxNorm as implemented in the HITSP Capability document “Issue Ambulatory and Long-term Prescriptions”

Column 3 – The certification criteria i.e. Conformance testing using the CCHIT Laika tool for appropriate implementation of NCPDP Script 10.5

Column 4 – The meaningful use measure i.e. what percentage of prescriptions in a practice were e-prescribed?

The above examples are illustrative only – they are not work products of any committee.

Certainly we’re going to get some more information and fodder for discussion about the term “meaningful use” and it’s implications for EHR stimulus money. I’d just caution people from looking too deep into the document we receive on June 16th. As is said above, there’s still a few more committees that need to meet to refine this document.

I do encourage people to provide feedback and commentary on the June 16th document. I’ll be looking around to find the best avenues for people to communicate any comments on the document. If you know of any avenues to share your feelings on “meaningful use” please let everyone know in the comments.

Uninstall CCHIT EHR for Non CCHIT EHR

Posted on April 20, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I recently got an email from an EHR vendor talking about how they just had a practice uninstall a CCHIT certified EHR and replace it with this EHR vendor’s EHR which was not CCHIT certified. This fact really wasn’t news to me and shouldn’t be news to anyone reading this forum. Although, if it is news to you, then know that this is a very common occurrence in the EHR world in general.

What was really interesting to me was to actually see an EHR vendor put a marketing and PR plan in action which basically says, “We’re not CCHIT certified and doctors like our EHR software better.” I mentioned to an EHR vendor I talked to recently that I think there’s a great opportunity available for some EHR vendor to say that we don’t waste our money on CCHIT certification. Instead our money is laser focused on making our EHR software improve your life as a doctor and your practice in general. Essentially, it seems like the EHR vendor is putting this into practice.

I should mention that the EHR vendor that sent me this email is one that focuses on a specific medical specialty specialties. CCHIT doesn’t do very good for specialties and so there’s even less benefit for a specialty specific EHR to waste development dollars on CCHIT.

You can actually find a blog post by the CEO of SRSsoft, Evan Steele, where he tells the story I’m talking about above. However, the interesting part isn’t the blog post itself. The interesting things are found in the comments of the blog post. In the comments Evan Steele says:

When reading the CCHIT criteria, it becomes clear that onerous requirements that do not impact the quality of care provided by orthopaedic practices (and are of questionable importance to other types of physicians) are layered onto the fundamental features that make an EMR valuable.

As you may know, I have been nominated as a member of the HIT Standards Committee, the group that will be charged with defining the EHR certification criteria. I have also volunteered to serve on a CCHIT work group. Although I anticipate an uphill battle, these are two opportunities for the voice of the 4,000 SRS physicians, as well as other high-performance physicians to be heard.

I don’t know Evan Steele personally, but he’s a brave man to join the HIT standards committee and a CCHIT work group. Thankfully he has a blog and hopefully we’ll hear more about the process of the HIT standards committee. In fact, I think he reads this blog and so I’d welcome him to do a guest post about his experience on the HIT standards committee [assuming his nomination is accepted].