Health IT coordinator to harmonize record standards, network

Health data exchange has a vibrant future, says Dr. David Blumenthal

The National Coordinator for Health Information Technology said today he intends to “harmonize” certified electronic health records standards within the National Health Information Network (NHIN).

“We are working on continuing the momentum of the NHIN and Connect," the NHIN software, Dr. David Blumenthal, who is based at the Health and Human Services Department, said at a Connect users conference today.

Blumenthal, who started work as national health IT coordinator in March, has been charged with recommending standards for “meaningful use” of certified Electronic Health Records under the economic stimulus law. The law provides financial incentives to doctors and hospitals who meaningfully use such record systems.

One of the criteria for meaningful use is sharing patient data within a health information exchange system, most likely the NHIN, Blumenthal said. NHIN is a network-of-networks patient data exchange system developed under the Bush administration that is currently being used by the Veterans Administration and Social Security Administration, among others.

“Given the federal investment in health IT, and the definition of meaningful use, it is clear there is a vibrant future for the NHIN,” Blumenthal said. “Our hope is that it will support health information exchange and meaningful use at the federal, state and local levels.”

Blumenthal said his office is working on standards and technical requirements for meaningful use that are to be “harmonized” with the NHIN. “NHIN can provide a path for meaningful use,” he said.

Also at the conference, Aneesh Chopra, the Obama administration’s chief technology officer, spoke of his experiences in his former position as Virginia’s CTO when he was involved in demonstrating MedVirginia’s trial participation in the NHIN. MedVirginia is a state-level health information exchange and can serve as a “centerpiece” example of how states can participate in the NHIN, Chopra said.

Chopra also encouraged providers to consider their broadband needs in health information exchange and to partner with the Obama administration’s efforts to expand broadband services under the economic stimulus law.

Health care providers such as doctors, hospitals and health clinics must ensure that when the time comes for exchanging data, they are not left out of broadband infrastructures, he said.

“Make sure health care is a part of broadband,” Chopra said.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • computer network

    How Einstein changes the way government does business

    The Department of Commerce is revising its confidentiality agreement for statistical data survey respondents to reflect the fact that the Department of Homeland Security could see some of that data if it is captured by the Einstein system.

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Army photo by Monica King. Jan. 26, 2017.

    Mattis mulls consolidation in IT, cyber

    In a Feb. 17 memo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told senior leadership to establish teams to look for duplication across the armed services in business operations, including in IT and cybersecurity.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DHS vague on rules for election aid, say states

    State election officials had more questions than answers after a Department of Homeland Security presentation on the designation of election systems as critical U.S. infrastructure.

  • Org Chart Stock Art - Shutterstock

    How the hiring freeze targets millennials

    The government desperately needs younger talent to replace an aging workforce, and experts say that a freeze on hiring doesn't help.

  • Shutterstock image: healthcare digital interface.

    VA moves ahead with homegrown scheduling IT

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will test an internally developed scheduling module at primary care sites nationwide to see if it's ready to service the entire agency.

  • Shutterstock images (honglouwawa & 0beron): Bitcoin image overlay replaced with a dollar sign on a hardware circuit.

    MGT Act poised for a comeback

    After missing in the last Congress, drafters of a bill to encourage cloud adoption are looking for a new plan.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group