Meeting Addresses California Health IT Project
National Coordinator for Health IT Dr. David Brailer praised the California Regional Health Information Organization, saying its efforts to build a statewide health information exchange network represent his "view of how to embarrass every other state into making major changes," the San Francisco Business Times reports.
Speaking Wednesday at the CalRHIO summit in San Francisco, Brailer said CalRHIO has made "remarkable progress" and emerged as a national leader. He added that other states, such as West Virginia and Florida, also are making impressive strides to develop health information networks that could link across states and regions to create a national network.
CalRHIO was launched last year by the San Francisco-based Health Technology Center. It currently is being spun off into an independent not-for-profit organization, which will require that it have its own board of directors. It aims to link various RHIOs in California, eventually creating a statewide infrastructure for exchanging medical data.
Brailer said organically connecting state and regional information exchanges such as CalRHIO will be more effective than a "top-down" approach regulated by federal officials, the Business Times reports. "Your work in choosing standards, not waiting for the federal government, is a very important part of that 'harmonization' project," Brailer said.
Brailer added, however, that a federal approach might be inevitable if projects like CalRHIO do not prove their worth to federal policymakers. "We're walking everyone up to the solution [at the federal level], but you have to want to go there," he said, adding, "We've got between a year and two years to do it right" (Rauber, San Francisco Business Times, 3/2).