The Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) is, at its essence, an umbrella organization for a large variety of smaller groups, or "Societies," which TAG divides into three categories: People, Function, and Industry. Each Society is represented by their own board or directors, sponsors, and hosts their own regular events. The Society pages on TAGthink are where the people involved in these groups connect and share in-depth information on a daily basis.
TAG Health’s March event featured the topic, “Opportunities in HITECH and the Next Steps for the National HIT Infrastructure”, and was presented by Dr. John Loonsk. Dr. Loonsk is Chief Medical Officer for CGI Federal, and Former Director of Interoperability and Standards, Office of the National Coordinator for HIT.
As background for the topic, as much as 36 billion dollars is associated with the HITECH portion of the ARRA stimulus package. Work is being initiated in every state and at the federal level in EMR adoption, health information exchange, workforce development, and standards and certification for the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN).
Dr. Loonsk, who managed the NHIN, as well as standards harmonization and certification while at ONC, discussed the current initiatives including “meaningful use” as well as additional work that needs to be done to get to the clinical and population outcomes that people expect from health IT.
Dr. Loonsk pointed out that currently there is managed chaos, with no one specific prevailing model, but all automation/connection models being implemented everywhere at once. And despite the common complaint that there are no standards, Dr. Loonsk said that standards do exist and the only problem now is making sure there’s enough specificity in actual implementation specifications.
Looking ahead, there is tremendous opportunity, both entrepreneurial and higher level enterprise, for economic development in both the clinical space and interoperability between systems. It will take a few months to find out what these opportunities are, and there will be additional “stimulus” funds to support this activity.
TAG Health’s next event will take place in May, visit www.tagonline.org/events.php for the event listing.