New Health IT Commission Will Advise Congress
The 11-member Commission on Systemic Interoperability will hold public hearings and collect other input as it examines how IT impacts the quality of health care.Congress has charged a new commission with developing a plan to make health care IT systems work together. President Bush last week appointed Scott Wallace, head of the National Alliance for Health Information Technology, to chair the commission. eWEEK.com spoke with Wallace as he headed out to Washington, D.C., for the commissions first meeting. The Commission on Systemic Interoperability hopes to move the country toward a fully functional, fully distributed EHR (electronic health records) system, Wallace said. The most obvious controversy concerns who should pay for it. Rather than address that issue immediately, the commission needs to examine how IT impacts the quality of health care, Wallace said. The issue is to define "what are the benefits, quantify those benefits, and then attribute those benefits to the respective groups that receive them." That process will shape how the costs of IT should be covered, he said.
Other challenges include deciding ways to measure quality and delivering the technical support necessary for broad adoption.
- Don E. Detmer, M.D., president and chief executive of American Medical Informatics Association; appointed by Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.)
- Vicky Gregg, CEO of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee; appointed by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.)
- C. Martin Harris, M.D., chief information officer of the IT division at the Cleveland Clinic; appointed by President Bush
- Gary A. Mecklenburg, president and CEO of Northwestern Memorial Healthcare, appointed by Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.)
- Arnold Milstein, M.D., medical director of the Pacific Business Group on Health; appointed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)
- Herbert Pardes, M.D., president and CEO of New York-Presbyterian Hospital; appointed by Senate Minority Leader Thomas Daschle (D-S.D.)
- Thomas M. Priselac, president and CEO of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center; appointed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)
- Ivan Seidenberg, CEO of Verizon; appointed by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.)
- Frederick Slunecka, CEO of Avera McKennan Hospital; appointed by Senate Minority Leader Thomas Daschle (D-S.D.)
- William W. Stead, M.D., director of the Informatics Center and associate vice chancellor for health affairs at Vanderbilt University; appointed by President Bush
- Commission chairman, Scott Wallace, CEO of the National Alliance for Health Information Technology; appointed by President Bush.