HIMSS, a US association representing both IT professionals and health IT vendors, has and continues to the lobby the US congress on various matters related to use and adoption of IT by US healthcare organizations. According to a recent article in Healthcare IT News, the association recently encouraged participants at the HIMSS Policy Summit in Washington to “ask lawmakers to ensure that any future policy pertaining to electronic health record incentive programs under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act balance meaningful use criteria and measures with industry readiness, without delaying the timeline for implementation.”
Health IT vendors are an important stakeholder group in the drive to digitize healthcare and their input is critical to shaping effective eHealth policies and strategies. In the US, HIMSS, on behalf of the vendor community, regularly comments on government policy discussions and decisions. According to the Healthcare IT News article, HIMSS’s policy agenda also includes:
- encouraging the US Congress to “enable the study of an informed patient identity solution
- “pushing Congress to work with the Obama Administration to make the current physician self-referral exemptions, or Stark exemptions, and anti-kickback safe harbors permanent”
Although HIMSS has an Ontario chapter, I have seen no indication of similar lobbying efforts by HIMSS in Canada. ITAC Health and the Canadian Medical Association held a two-day think tank earlier this spring which I was privileged to attend. A communique from this think tank is expected this summer.