02 Mar Health IT stimulus success hinges on standards
Health care information professionals say the success of the economic stimulus package’s $19 billion investment in electronic health records rides on the development of technology standards.
The 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act gives that job to the National Institute of Standards and Technology. NIST will receive $20 million to develop standards for electronic health records so that doctors and hospitals nationwide can share patients’ files over what will eventually become the Nationwide Health Information Network.
Health IT researchers said those standards are the linchpin in making the system work. Dr. Bart Harmon, chief medical officer for systems integrator Harris Healthcare Solutions, called the standards critical to exchanging health data nationwide. Dr. Stephen Jones, principal deputy assistant secretary of Defense for health affairs, said “in order to have interoperability you must have standards . . . just like railroads need to have standard gauges of track.”
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