July 2006 MedBytes: Health Information Technology


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Recognizing the need to improve health care quality, the health care industry has set the stage for transforming health care through widespread adoption of health information technology (HIT). Numerous online sites focus on or discuss this topic. This month's MedBytes takes a look at a few of them.

TexasMedical Association
Texas physicians seeking HIT information should visit the TMA site at  www.texmed.org.  Click on Technology under Practice Management. You will find a list of endorsed TMA HIT services, TMA practice management publications, and information about TMA Physician Services. In addition to new practice setups, operational and billing assessments, and coding audits, TMA Physician Services provides comprehensive technology consulting for new and existing practices. Physicians can also read the 2005 Electronic Medical Record System Survey and its results, a listing of e-health terms, and a Frequently Asked Questions section.

American Academyof Family Physicians(AAFP)
The AAFP's Center for Health Information Technology,  www.centerforhit.org, is dedicated to increasing the availability and use of low-cost, standards-based information technology among family physicians, nationally and internationally, through consultative, educational, and outreach activities. The center collaborates with government, industry, and other professional organizations to apply HIT to improve patient care and safety and to increase the efficiency of health care delivery. Its site provides interactive tools for physicians, hardware and implementation tutorials, and the latest news and events related to HIT. There is also a list of journals, online publications, and organizations that specialize in the field.

Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society
Founded in 1961, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) is a membership organization that focuses on providing leadership for the optimal use of health care information technology and management systems. Information about the society's educational programs, publications, certifications, and awards can be found online at  www.himss.org. It also has information about new products and allows users to purchase books or CDs about HIT. Additionally, the site contains the society's advocacy and public policy center. 

Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology
Under the Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONCHIT) provides leadership for the development and nationwide implementation of HIT to improve the quality and efficiency of health care and the ability of consumers to manage their care and safety. ONCHIT's site, located at  www.hhs.gov/healthit, discuses challenges to adopting HIT, three main building blocks to help implement widespread adoption, federal initiatives, and the HIT Leadership Panel. Visitors can also read the president's vision for HIT.  

American Medical Informatics Association
The American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) says it plays a pivotal role in the transformation of the U.S. health system and makes measurable contributions to the improvement of health through continued development and implementation of HIT. AMIA is active in developing global health information policy and technology with particular emphasis on using HIT to meet the health needs of underserved populations. The AMIA site,  www.amia.org, shares the latest industry and public policy news, contains an e-learning center, and has information about the AMIA's annual symposium and other upcoming meetings.

Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology
The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT) is the recognized certification authority for electronic health records and their networks, and an independent, voluntary, private-sector initiative. Its mission is to accelerate the adoption of HIT by creating an efficient, credible, and sustainable product certification program. Visitors to the CCHIT site,  www.cchit.org, can read an overview of CCHIT's work, its certification criteria and inspection process, and its certification handbook. The site also contains resources for physicians and health care consumers and a list of upcoming events.

MedBytes is a quick look at new, or newly discovered, Web sites of interest toTexasphysicians. The column also highlights features of the TMA Web site. If you know of some interesting medical sites or have questions about how to use the TMA Web site, email   Erin Prather . Publication of information about Web sites in this column is not to be considered an endorsement or approval by theTexasMedical Association of the sites or sponsors, or of any products or services involved.  

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