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URAC Exploring New Quality Benchmarks for Health Information Technology Systems

URAC Exploring New Quality Benchmarks for Health Information Technology Systems

WASHINGTON, May 4 /PRNewswire/ -- URAC announced today it will be convening a research and focus group to explore new quality benchmarks for health information technology (HIT), including the possibility of developing standards addressing electronic health records (EHRs) and/or the infrastructure of HIT systems.

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The important potential of HIT systems to improve quality and safety in the health care system is highlighted by recent announcements from President George W. Bush regarding creation of an office in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to coordinate federal health information technology efforts, as well as by a recent report, Patient Safety: Achieving A New Standard for Care, by the Institute of Medicine Committee on Data Standards for Patient Safety.

"The health care system is going through a rapid transformation where HIT applications are upgrading a wide array of medical and clinical support tools for the patient, providers, health plans and others," said Garry Carneal, president and CEO of URAC. "URAC's Board of Directors will review the recommendations from staff, the focus group, and other sources before making a final decision on URAC accreditation standards related to HIT."

The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) will be providing URAC with strategic and technical insight for the HIT research and focus group. "HIMSS recognizes the importance of and need for consistent implementation standards for the effective use of electronic health records," said H. Stephen Lieber, president and CEO of HIMSS. "We look forward to working with URAC in its efforts to establish an accreditation benchmark for information technology in health care."

The first topic the HIT research and focus group is likely to address is the possible development of EHR standards to achieve the following goals:


* Provide secure, reliable, real-time access to electronic patient health record information; * Promote support for EHR deployment throughout the continuum of care; * Support evidence-based care, patient safety, quality improvement and performance monitoring; * Promote efficiency and return-on-investment (ROI); and * Support reimbursement.

The HIT research and focus group is expected to convene for the first time in mid-June 2004 in Washington, D.C. Parties interested in participating can contact Liza Greenberg, RN, MPH, URAC's vice president of Research and Standards at Research@urac.org.


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