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New Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel Formed under Contract from DHHS

ANSI partners with HIMSS, ATI and Booz Allen Hamilton to lead initiative

New York, Oct 06, 2005

A contract award announced today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will support a new collaborative effort to harmonize healthcare information technology standards.

Under the sponsorship of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), coordinator of the U.S. voluntary standardization system, a recently formed Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel (HITSP) will bring together a wide range of stakeholders to identify, select, and harmonize standards for communicating data throughout the healthcare spectrum. The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), the Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) and Booz Allen Hamilton serve as strategic partners with ANSI in this initiative.

Formation of the Panel was endorsed by a number of industry groups and has the oversight and backing of the Office of the National Health Information Technology Coordinator (ONCHIT). The contract awarded to ANSI is one of three totaling $17.5 million to public-private groups that will accelerate the adoption of health information technology and the secure portability of health information across the U.S.

“These contracts are a significant milestone in a broader strategy to spur technical innovation for nationwide sharing of health information and adoption of electronic health records,” said Dr. David Brailer, the National Health Information Technology Coordinator. “This work will set the stage for an Internet-based architecture that will allow secure, timely and accurate exchange of health information among patients, clinicians, and other authorized healthcare entities.”

The HITSP will function as an open partnership of the public and private sectors and reach across the entire healthcare community. Nearly one hundred organizations representing standards development organizations, healthcare providers, public health agencies, consumers, and government agencies have already joined the Panel.

In conducting its work, the HITSP will facilitate the broadest possible participation of all affected parties by collaborating with other national, regional and international groups addressing healthcare informatics.

“The most important work of HITSP is to create a trusted consensus process for harmonization of standards,” said John D. Halamka, MD, MS, chief information officer of the Harvard School of Medicine and chair of the Panel. “Our evolving process begins with specific use case scenarios in four major areas – well child care, electronic prescribing, chronic care, and care coordination among clinicians. These scenarios empower HITSP members to define the necessary functional components, standards, and gaps in standards which must be resolved to enable secure exchange of healthcare data.”

HITSP’s purpose is to achieve a widely accepted and useful set of standards specifically to enable and support widespread interoperability, accurate use, access, privacy and security of shared health information. Harmonization of such standards among healthcare software applications will help to sustain the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN) for the United States that was called for by President George W. Bush. More information on the panel is available by contacting ANSI or visiting

ANSI is a private non-profit organization whose mission is to enhance global competitiveness and the quality of life by promoting, facilitating, and safeguarding the integrity of the voluntary standardization and conformity assessment system. ANSI is the official U.S. representative to the International Accreditation Forum (IAF), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and, via the U.S. National Committee, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

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