My approach to regulations and legislation in health care is to enjoy and savor them by reading the actual text. For me, summaries tend to obscure the problems that people who create these are trying to solve. This is what makes this part of the job fun.
I’ve read Title XIII-Health Information Technology with an eye toward the things I am most interested in and will quote those passages below, for informational purposes. Remember that this is a blog which means that corrections and improvements are welcome in the comments. And I’m not an attorney, this is for informational purposes only, and there’s good information in here.
Subtitle A – Promotion of Health Information Technology
Section 3000 Definitions
Health Information Technology includes uses by patients:
‘‘(5) HEALTHINFORMATIONTECHNOLOGY.—The term ‘health information technology’ means hardware, software, integrated technologies or related licenses, intellectual property, upgrades, or packaged solutions sold as services that are designed for or support the use by health care entities or patients for the electronic creation, maintenance, access, or exchange of health information
Section 3001 Office of the National Coordinator For Health Information Technology
Support for patient/consumer groups
‘‘(7) ASSISTANCE.—The National Coordinator may provide financial assistance to consumer advocacy groups and not-for- profit entities that work in the public interest for purposes of defraying the cost to such groups and entities to participate under, whether in whole or in part, the National Technology Transfer Act of 1995 (15 U.S.C. 272 note).
Section 3002 HIT Policy Committee
The sections of this Committee’s charge that cover things like patient access and empowerment are listed in “Other Areas For Consideration.” At least they are there at all.
‘(iii) Telemedicine technologies, in order to reduce travel requirements for patients in remote areas. ‘‘(iv) Technologies that facilitate home health care and the monitoring of patients recuperating at home. ‘‘(v) Technologies that help reduce medical errors. ‘‘(vi) Technologies that facilitate the continuity of care among health settings. ‘‘(vii) Technologies that meet the needs of diverse populations. ‘‘(viii) Methods to facilitate secure access by an individual to such individual’s protected health information. ‘‘(ix) Methods, guidelines, and safeguards to facili- tate secure access to patient information by a family member, caregiver, or guardian acting on behalf of a patient due to age-related and other disability, cog- nitive impairment, or dementia. ‘‘(x) Any other technology that the HIT Policy Com- mittee finds to be among the technologies with the greatest potentiof health care.
There is support for patient involvement on the HIT Policy Committee (nominees were sought recently for this Committee):
‘‘(G) 13 members shall be appointed by the Comptroller General of the United States of whom— ‘‘(i) 3 members shall advocates for patients or con- sumers; ‘‘(ii) 2 members shall represent health care pro- viders, one of which shall be a physician; ‘‘(iii) 1 member shall be from a labor organization representing health care workers; ‘‘(iv) 1 member shall have expertise in health information privacy and security;
Section 3003 HIT Standards Committee
Membership to include consumers:
‘‘(2) M.—The membership of the HIT Standards Committee shall at least reflect providers, ancillary healthcare workers, consumers, purchasers, health plans, technology vendors, researchers, relevant Federal agencies, and individuals with technical expertise on health care quality, privacy and security, and information.
Tomorrow, Part II of Title XIII