[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 11-May-2011
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Contact: Nancy Light
American Medical Informatics Association

AMIA identifies areas to strengthen Federal health IT strategic plan

Ensuring vendor accountability, supporting profession's expansion are strategic keys to success

AMIA, the association for informatics professionals, has weighed in on the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan in response to the HHS Office of the National Coordinator's (ONC) call for comments on the overarching strategy for realizing health IT goals set forth by the U.S. Congress and the Administration. AMIA President and CEO Edward H. Shortliffe, PhD, MD, summarizes AMIA's comments simply:

"Because health IT provides the surest means to improve quality, efficiency, safety, and patient-centric care, it is essential that there are well trained personnel in the field to support its use and that the collaborative support of vendors who implement electronic health record systems is part of the plan. The highest use of health IT—what the ONC has called 'meaningful use'—supports healthcare professionals to enhance the quality of what they do, with the added benefits of improving health outcomes, increasing transparency and efficiency, and improving the ability to study and improve health care. The strongest strategy is to focus all the resources related to adoption of health IT in unison, as we take this important step forward with our healthcare system."

AMIA states in its comments to ONC that several elements of the Strategic Plan are laudable, including the creation of standards, certification of systems, and the incorporation of these issues into medical education. However, AMIA expressed some concerns:

"While AMIA supports the adoption of electronic health records and health information exchanges," says AMIA Board Chairwoman Nancy M. Lorenzi, PhD, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and Professor of Biomedical Informatics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, "we urge ONC to continue to pay attention to related issues such as data integrity and data stewardship, which are particularly critical considerations as health data from multiple sources are integrated and exchanged."


The full text of AMIA's comments is available at www.amia.org/public-policy/testimony-comments-reports

AMIA, the leading professional association for informatics professionals, serves as the voice of the nation's top biomedical and health informatics professionals and plays an important role in medicine, health care, and science, encouraging the use of data, information and knowledge to improve both human health and delivery of healthcare services.

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