Consortium Calls for New Not-for-Profit To Develop Technology Standards for National Health Information Network
A consortium of eight technology companies last week called for the creation of a not-for-profit company to develop technology standards for a national health information database, the New York Times reports. In a report submitted to National Health Information Technology Coordinator David Brailer, the Interoperability Consortium -- which includes Accenture, Cisco, Computer Sciences, IBM, Intel, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft and Oracle -- recommended that the government provide initial funding and incentives to encourage doctors and hospitals to implement software and computers required to participate in the proposed database.
The report stated that the government could expedite the network's development by supplying guidelines for the standard-setting process. The 134-page report, which was requested by the Bush administration, also recommended that:
HHS appoint members of the not-for-profit company's board;
- The proposed network not include a centralized database; and
- Patients decide whether personal information can be used in studies of drugs and treatments.
The eight companies are "often rivals," but they created an alliance "to hasten the development of a digital health network," the Times reports.
Neil de Crescenzo, head of the health practice for IBM's business consulting services, said, "We got together to try to speak with one voice to the federal government and other stakeholders and say this is an approach we will all stand behind." He added, "The challenge is to turn a call for change in the nation's health care system into actual change."
The consortium's report is one of several hundred that were delivered last week to Brailer, who requested recommendations on building a national health information network (Lohr, New York Times, 1/26).