Briefs: Standard Health IT Language Needed, White House Panel Says

Mixed reaction to proposal that would reorganize North Carolina government; delayed California drivers’ licenses.

by / December 13, 2010

The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology is recommending the federal government adopt standardized language in order to spur adoption of electronic health records and health information exchange.

Such a “universal exchange language” would improve the accuracy of recordkeeping and make privacy protection stronger, the advisory group concluded in a report to President Barack Obama Dec. 8.

The council said the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services should develop the guidelines for the universal language.

The council reported that “if health information technology is to have a truly transformative effect, the federal government should push ambitiously toward a national health data infrastructure in which patient data are readily available to providers in real time, can be accessed in de-identified form by researchers and public health agencies, and in which a market for applications that enhance EHR [electronic health records] usability and patient involvement can flourish, enabling a ‘network effect’ that can spur further adoption.”

Source: iHealthBeat

Observers Weigh North Carolina Reorganization

North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue’s proposal to streamline state government — and privatize some IT services — is generating debate about its merit.

Jack Betts of the Charlotte Observer wrote that Perdue’s proposal is a rare instance of bipartisanship between the Democrat governor and the Republican-controlled Legislature. “Ordinarily Democratic governors do not lead the smaller-government-is-better parade,” Betts wrote in an opinion piece Sunday, Dec. 12.

Others, though, are questioning the effectiveness of merging government departments and partnering with a private-sector partner for technology services.


California Drivers’ Licenses Delayed

Due to manufacturing problems, the California Department of Motor Vehicles is six weeks behind schedule on the issuance of a newly designed driver’s license, according to The Sacramento Bee. The card manufacturer is reportedly having difficulty getting them exactly right. The new driver’s license contains new security features.

Source: The Sacramento Bee