The Public Health Data Standards Consortium (PHDSC) will join the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), in a deal that will broaden AHIMA’s involvement with public health standards.
Denise Froemming, executive vice president operations, and CFO, said in a telephone interview that PHDSC is dissolving as an independent organization and will join AHIMA. PHDSC’s assets and intellectual property will be transferred to the AHIMA Foundation, a 501c(3) non-profit organization, and will be used to support research projects and education initiatives relating to public health and data standards. Froemming expects the deal to be finalized by the end of the year.
According to the statement from AHIMA, “Both organizations are committed to advancing professional practice through the means of health information technology and HIT standards, and to represent a common voice within the public health and overall healthcare communities. They also work to advocate for and standardize the use and exchange of information through eHealth technology to promote population health.”
Deborah Green, AHIMA’s EVP, operations and CFO, said in the interview that “standards are an essential to governance of data and information.” She added: “Public health is a huge component of the healthcare industry, but it is one that has not really effectively integrated with other healthcare industry initiatives.”
Green said the agreement is an opportunity to recognize that quality health data information for public health is dependent on the same things that other healthcare sectors are dependent on. While there is commonality in technical standards among the various sectors of healthcare, there are differences in the definitions of data sets and data elements in those data sets, she said. “There is much work to be done across healthcare and public health is an important part of that.”