Executive Order Update

On August 22, 2006, President Bush issued an executive order that directs certain federal agencies, including the U.S. Office of Personnel Management to

1. Increase Transparency In Pricing and Quality.
2. Encourage Adoption Of Health Information Technology (IT) Standards.
3. Provide Options That Promote Quality And Efficiency In Health Care.

HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt continues to push forward these Presidential initiatives according to a GCN.com report.Secretary Leavitt reported that last week the Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel, (HITSP) a unit of the American National Standards Institute, issued its first set of HIT interoperability standards. HITSP will be issuing additional standards every eight to ten weeks. These are the standards referenced in the Executive Order. Another organization the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT) which also operates under an HHS contract is responsible for accrediting HIT for

Functionality – setting features and functions to meet a basic set of requirements. (For additional details, see the CCHIT Functionality Criteria.)

Interoperability – enabling standards-based data exchange with other sources of healthcare information when they are established by HITSP. (For additional details, see the CCHIT Interoperability Criteria.)

Security – ensuring data privacy and robustness to prevent data loss. (For additional details, see the CCHIT Security Criteria.)

CCHIT already has accredited 22 ambulatory electronic health record products. HITSP and CCHIT recently created a working group to coordinate their activities.

Secretary Leavitt also announced the creation of an additional American Health Information Community workgroup focused on quality. This workgroup will make “that specify how certified health information technology should capture, aggregate and report data for a core set of ambulatory and inpatient quality measures.”