Our October Health TechNet meeting focused on the development of regulations and other industry initiatives relating to Regional Extension Centers and Health Information Exchanges.
The meeting featured a panel discussion led by Suniti Ponkshe, who has a deep experience in the HIT community as a consultant, hospital CIO, and program implementer, she has served as an advisor to Dr. David Blumenthall at the Office of the National Coordinator, and is currently a consultant to Tony Rogers at the DHHS Center for Innovation. Suniti was joined by 1) Mat Kendall, Director of Provider Adoption Support and leader of the REC effort within ONC and 2) Chris Muir, Senior Program Analyst and one of the leaders of the state HIE program at ONC.
They provided us with an overview on the Health Information Technology Extension Program as authorized by the HITECH Act. The extension program consists of Regional Extension Centers and a national Health Information Technology Research Center (HITRC). The regional centers will offer technical assistance, guidance, and information on best practices to support and accelerate health care providers’ efforts to become meaningful users of Electronic Health Records (EHRs). The extension program will establish an estimated 70 (or more) regional centers, each serving a defined geographic area. The regional centers will support at least 100,000 primary care providers, through participating non-profit organizations, in achieving meaningful use of EHRs and enabling nationwide health information exchange).
The meeting also featured brief presentations by some of our members: Bill Kotraba and Alan Eisman with Information Builders, Al Rubenstein with IASTA and Shirley Travis, Dean of George Mason's HCHHS (College of Health and Human Services).
Further updates on unfolding healthcare developments of interest to the health technology industry were also provided.
The presentations of the speakers were followed by an active discussion among our members.