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HITSP Program Director Testifies to House of Representatives on Health Information Technology

New York, Jul 24, 2008

Lee Jones, HITSP program director, testifies before the U.S. House of Representatives on July 24, 2008. LeRoy Jones, program director for the Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel (HITSP) and principal and chief executive of GSI Health, testified today before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Health.

The hearing was focused on options to encourage the adoption and use of a secure, clinically comprehensive, and fully interoperable health information technology system in the United States.

Mr. Jones’ testimony detailed several initiatives funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to accelerate electronic medical record interoperability efforts, including:

  • harmonizing standards for healthcare information technology (undertaken by HITSP),

  • ensuring that electronic medical records provide the basic functions needed for a doctor to record and transmit patient medical information (undertaken by the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology),

  • cataloguing privacy and security policies across the nation and reconciling their variances to insure interoperability across state borders (undertaken by the Health Information Security and Privacy Collaboration), and

  • establishing a real health information exchange network which demonstrates the feasibility of implementing interoperability standards in an effective way and propagates their widespread use (undertaken by the Nationwide Health Information Network).

Highlighting the efforts to establish health information exchange networks, Jones discussed the progress being made by the Statewide Health Information Network of New York (SHIN-NY) and the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN). These networks, established to enable the exchange of healthcare information among various software applications, can serve as reference implementation models for other efforts to learn from and to reuse.

“Whether it is bolstering the open source assets, or transforming the landscape of commercial products as they integrate into the network, these significant initiatives to build networks for information exchange are propelling the industry forward into a more interoperable state,” Jones explained.

During his testimony, Mr. Jones also emphasized the important role of HITSP in the establishment of interoperable electronic health records. The Panel identifies and selects the necessary functional components and standards to enable the interoperable exchange of health care data. HITSP then develops guidance documents known as Interoperability Specifications (IS) that recommend the standards that will meet clinical and business needs for sharing information across organizations and systems. Once an IS is recognized by HHS Secretary Leavitt, agencies administering or sponsoring federal health programs are required to implement the standards where applicable.

HITSP’s 480 member organizations represent consumers, healthcare providers, public health agencies, government agencies, standards developing organizations, and other stakeholders – all working together to identify the most appropriate standards for specific use cases involving patients, providers, and government agencies.

“From consumers to doctors, nurses and hospitals; from those who develop health care IT products to those who use them; and from government agencies to organizations that are developing the standards upon which these new health systems are based – everyone has a role to play in shaping the new U.S. healthcare IT infrastructure,” concluded Mr. Jones.

In addition to Mr. Jones’ testimony, representatives from the Congressional Budget Office; the American College of Physicians; the Center for Democracy and Technology; Clinic Adelante, Inc.; Intel Corporation; and the Marshfield Clinic presented their views on the current health IT landscape.

Written testimonies are currently available on the Committee on Ways and Means website. A full transcript of the hearing will be posted soon.


A cooperative partnership between the public and private sectors, the Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel (HITSP) is a national, volunteer-driven, consensus-based organization that is working to ensure the interoperability of electronic health records in the United States.

Operating under contract to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), HITSP is administered by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in cooperation with strategic partners including the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), the Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) and Booz Allen Hamilton.

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