“Sometime around the third week of June, the Department of Health and Human Services is expected to provide the latest guidelines to the health care community, and to federal agencies, regarding the effort to put in place a uniform system of electronic medical health records nationwide.
“Meanwhile, some of the federal officials who are engaged in the “health IT” push here in Washington paused to offer insights into their work during the May luncheon of AFFIRM, the Association for Federal Information Resource Management, held yesterday at the George Washington University in D.C.
“Scott Cragg is a special assistant to the Chief Information officer at the Department of Veterans Affairs. He talked about the challenge to his agency, which oversees one of the largest health care systems in the world. Cragg says his biggest mandate right now: taking the VA’s very successful VISTA health records management system, and helping it to transition into a new realm of upgraded open source software and hardware systems — all while meeting the mandate to become part of a nationwide electronic health records network.
“In the same way, Navy Captain Michael Weiner, Chief Medical Officer with the Pentagon’s Defense Health Information Management System, says his efforts to help the Defense Department sync up with the VA, and eventually, with the electronic records in the civilian world, are centered around the promise of better patient care through shared medical data.”
In addition to Capt. Weiner and Mr. Cragg, HHS Deputy CIO John Teeter joined this panel. The moderator, former VA Deputy CIO Ed Meagher (now with SRA International) joined me in studio to talk about the panel.
Ed cited the fact that the three speakers “all came independently, with the same set of concerns, and the same focus points” as his most important takeaway from the discussion, “that we need to come to some consensus around a way ahead.” You can hear all of Ed’s observations on the panel by clicking the audio link, or listen to the entire event.