The 21 members of the HIT Standards Committee have been appointed, and unfortunately I was not among those selected. However, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and National Coordinator for Health Information Technology David Blumenthal did assemble a highly credentialed, very impressive group of health IT experts who will contribute much time and extensive experience toward the recommendation of the qualification criteria for EHRs under the Economic Stimulus Plan.
My concerns remain as anticipated—that the Committee, as impressive as it is, will not represent the interests of high-volume private practitioners, particularly the specialists, who are on the front lines of delivering patient care on a daily basis to the majority of Americans.
- There are no full-time, private-practicing physicians on the Committee. The seven physician members spend most, if not all, of their time in informatics-focused positions at their respective institutions.
- By virtue of its composition, the Committee will continue the focus on primary care—of the physicians on the Committee, five are internal medicine–certified, one is a pathologist, and the vendor representative trained as a neurologist. There is no one with first-hand experience regarding the vastly different issues facing specialists. Who will make sure that EHR use will be defined “meaningfully” for them?
- Committee members are associated with large, closed-loop medical institutions, (albeit venerable ones, such as the Mayo Clinic and Kaiser Permanente.) Their environments facilitate utilization of EMRs in ways that are typically beyond the reach of independent, community practices.
- The Committee appears predisposed toward CCHIT—one member is a CCHIT Commissioner and the vendor community representative is from a CCHIT EMR company (as is the vendor on the HIT Policy Committee). No alternative EMR technologies are represented—i.e., there are no alternative voices to broaden the Committee’s perspective regarding other EMR solutions with successful adoption track records.
Rest assured that, although I am not a Committee member, I will participate as a member of the public via Web access to the meetings. SRS Government Affairs will monitor both the HIT Standards and the HIT Policy Committees’ meetings, and I will keep you informed in future blogs. Stay tuned.