GAO names 13 to healthcare IT committee

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The Government Accountability Office recently appointed 13 healthcare industry specialists to the Health Information Technology Policy Committee. As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the HITPC will help oversee the adoption of a national infrastructure of electronic medical records.

The first 13 members come from all areas of the healthcare field—from consumer groups and labor unions—to researchers and equipment purchasers. Representing providers in this cohort will be Marc Probst of Utah-based Intermountain Healthcare, and Paul Tang with the California-based Palo Alto Medical Foundation. A report released last November by the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging shows that, while the healthcare community at large is making strides toward adopting electronic medical records, nursing homes are leading the pack when it comes to widespread EMR implementation with 43% of facilities maintaining healthcare information technologies. (McKnight's, 11/10/08)

The secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and leaders in both the House and Senate will be allowed to fill an additional seven seats on the committee. According to the GAO, the role of the committee will be to make policy recommendations and set certain standards and guidelines for a national EMR infrastructure.