NAHIT Declares Mission Accomplished

The group responsible for dubbing the terms “electronic health record” (EHR) and “personal health record” (PHR) says it has done all it set out to do. The National Alliance for Health Information Technology (NAHIT) will disband on Sept. 30.

“In a few short years, NAHIT has accomplished its mission: HIT has moved front and center in efforts to reinvent and reinvigorate the U.S. health system,” Jane Horowitz, NAHIT chief operating officer, said in an Aug. 17 press release.

Since its inception in 2002, NAHIT carved out several important milestones. In addition to creating key health information technology (HIT) terms for the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health IT, the NAHIT helped shape Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations on the use of bar codes for identifying medication. It also co-founded the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT) and helped develop the definition of interoperability currently being used in proposed legislation on the meaningful use of EHRs.

But times are changing. “Going forward, the action is shifting from NAHIT’s focus on educating, advocating and building common ground to planning, implementing and using HIT to improving care, safety and efficiency,” says Horowitz. 

“Other organizations are better positioned to help providers with implementation,” says Horowitz. “In particular, the American Hospital Association (AHA) has close ties with hospital chief executive officers while the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) is the leading industry association for chief information officers.”

The American Medical Association (AMA) paints a picture slightly less rosy. According to AMNews (Dolan, Aug. 31), the alliance has had financial problems and has undergone organizational changes leading to Horowitz being the last remaining employee.

Not all of the NAHIT’s endeavors were successful, AMNews reports. Security concerns stalled NAHIT efforts to create a unique identifier patient (UPI) system — something the AMA has actively advocated against.

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