The National eHealth Collaborative, formerly AHIC Successor, was officially launched yesterday in Washington, D.C. The National eHealth Collaborative is a public-private partnership dedicated to the creation of a secure, interoperable, nationwide health information network that will advance the American public's interest in health and improve the quality, safety, efficiency and accessibility of healthcare. The Collaborative builds on the accomplishments of the American Health Information Community (AHIC), a federal advisory committee established in 2005, and AHIC Successor, founded in 2008 to transition AHIC's accomplishments into a new non-profit membership organization, now known as the National eHealth Collaborative (NeHC).

The NeHC's membership and board represent virtually all stakeholders whose participation is needed to drive the rapid development and adoption of an interoperable health system. The list of participating stakeholders includes federal and state agencies, health systems, payers, health professionals, medical centers, community hospitals, patient advocates, major employers, non-profit health organizations, commercial technology providers, and others.

The NeHC brings together these stakeholders to accelerate development of the health IT systems, infrastructure, standards, protections, participation, and education needed to create a secure, interoperable, nationwide electronic health information network. It provides a needed and credible forum for stakeholders to transparently vet and prioritize national advancement efforts and leverages the value, resources and best practices offered by both the public and private sectors. The NeHC works in close partnership with the Health Information Technology Standards Panel, the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology, and the Nationwide Health Information Network, as well as other health and IT member organizations.

"As the National eHealth Collaborative continues to guide and drive the most important transformation of healthcare in our nation's history, we are committed to working with all stakeholders to encourage the use of interoperable health IT," said Dr. Tooker, the chair of the newly announced NeHC Board of Directors. "I am pleased to serve alongside some of the most respected leaders in healthcare and information technology as we work to improve the health and well-being of all Americans through the nationwide exchange of interoperable electronic health information."

Toward that end, representatives of the Collaborative's Board are scheduled to meet with President-elect Obama's transition team to brief them on the group's efforts and plans. The NeHC will also offer assistance as the new Administration follows through on President-elect Obama's stated commitment to promote the use of electronic health records and health information technologies as part of a national economic stimulus package and comprehensive healthcare reform.

The NeHC intends to work cooperatively and aggressively in the months ahead to accelerate progress on a number of initiatives critical to the achievement of a secure, nationwide electronic health information network, including:

  • Consistent standards to guide the development, sharing and updating of confidential individualized health information within a secure national network;
  • Education, guidance and incentives for widespread adoption of electronic health records by health systems, health professionals and individuals;
  • Creation of the secure, interoperable network that enables immediate, consistent, protected access to relevant personal health information at the point of care, anywhere and anytime it is needed;
  • Collaboration among a wide variety of institutions and organizations to enable broad, efficient, seamless and confidential exchange of secure, individualized health information--leading to system-wide improvements in health outcomes, access, and quality of care, as well as reduced costs over time; and
  • Partnership with members of the Nationwide Health Information Collaborative and others to develop a governance plan for the Nationwide Health Information Network.

The NeHC is moving rapidly to expand its membership, assuring that all key stakeholders are adequately represented, and will soon call on those stakeholders to participate in committees and workgroups tasked with addressing various barriers to health information technology adoption and use.