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Back Beat

August 1, 2007
by root
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People in the news, the latest book releases, and other interesting snippets of information

CAP Report on Health IT

The Washington, D.C.-based Center for American Progress (CAP), a nonpartisan research and educational institute, has formulated a plan that it says is designed to improve the American healthcare system through the use of health IT.

According to the CAP report, improving healthcare can be realized if immediate changes are made to policies promoting health IT systems.

CAP contends that the following steps need to be taken right away:

  • Establish national health IT interoperability standards

  • Expand health privacy protections for personal electronic health records

  • Ensure the security of electronic health records

  • Set up a health IT infrastructure improvement fund to lead investment in health IT systems for safety-net providers

  • Create a health IT "information commons" to promote data sharing and research

  • Make major public and private investments in comparative effectiveness research

The institute touts that its "Navigating American Health Care" report outlines the necessary steps to convert the healthcare system into an industry that provides a healthy life for all Americans.

PENN Medicine Partners Up With DocuSys

The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (PENN Medicine) and DocuSys Inc., a provider of anesthesia information management systems (AIMS), have established a Center for Information Technology within the Center for Anesthesia Patient Safety and Public Policy at the Philadelphia-based university.

According to DocuSys, PENN Medicine's Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care will conduct basic and applied research related to AIMS technology. The clinical utility of this technology will be evaluated, providing direction that will advance anesthesia patient safety initiatives, says the Mobile, Ala.-based company.

PENN Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

CCHIT Selects Volunteer Groups

Co-chairs and members of The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology's (CCHIT) 2007-2008 all-volunteer work groups and expert panels have been selected.

According to the CCHIT, a not-for-profit Chicago-based certification organization, these teams bring together 161 volunteers, who will work to develop a significantly expanded certification program for 2008.

There are two types of volunteer roles: membership in one of five sustaining work groups (foundation; ambulatory EHR; inpatient EHR; emergency department EHR; and networks); or serving on one of five new expert panels (security; interoperability; privacy and compliance; child health; and cardiovascular medicine), says CCHIT.

Georgetown Collects Information through CAQH

Georgetown University Hospital (GUH) is now collecting all information required for provider credentialing and other business processes through CAQH's Universal Credentialing Datasource (UCD) service.

Launched in 2002, UCD streamlines the initial application and re-credentialing processes, and offers health organizations access to provider information for quality assurance and support services, such as directories and claims processing, says CAQH (Washington, D.C.). According to the organization, all data submitted by providers through UCD is maintained by CAQH.

GUH also will use the CAQH service for employment processes and delegated agreements with managed care organizations.

GUH, a member of MedStar Health and one of the largest healthcare delivery networks in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, is the first hospital in the country to participate in UCD.

HIMSS and AMDIS Form Physician Community

The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS, Chicago) and the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems (AMDIS, Lake Almanor, Calif.) have joined forces to form the HIMSS Physician Community.

According to HIMSS, the community will focus on four areas:

  • Tools, resources, education, research and professional development for physicians engaged in the development, implementation, and/or use of IT and management systems.

  • Informing public policy initiatives that can impact the quality, safety, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness of patient care.

  • Informing private-sector initiatives that can impact the way in which physicians interact with their patients, clinical administrative staff and other physicians and insurance companies.

  • Informing standards and interoperability initiatives that can impact physicians' workflow and improve access to information.

The community's purpose, says HIMSS, is to "articulate a cohesive voice for HIMSS physicians and to provide leadership, guidance and domain expertise to HIMSS' activities, industry initiatives, and collaborations with physicians societies," as stated in the agreement.