Leavitt announces new electronic health records advisory board

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A new advisory board will guide the nation's health providers in their efforts to adopt a healthcare information technology system, Michael Leavitt, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Affairs, said Monday.

The American Health Information Community will comprise federal and private-sector members and will provide a way for the government to work with healthcare providers, the technology industry and consumer groups. It will identify health information technology projects for implementation, according to HHS officials.

The commission of up to 17 members would oversee the architecture and design of a Web-based national health information network, Leavitt said while speaking Monday during a meeting of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society in New York.

HHS will issue requests for four proposals to start the contracting process. The requests include the following projects: the creation of uniform data standards, the establishment of a certification-and-inspection process for electronic health records and an evaluation of state laws associated with privacy and security of health information.