|WASHINGTON -- The drive for safer, more effective healthcare through electronic information exchange is gaining traction along the full policy and healthcare spectrum, from Bush Administration leaders to practicing physicians. In April, top names in healthcare will headline eHealth Initiative's Third Annual Connecting Communities Learning Forum in Washington, D.C.
More than 1,000 attendees are expected to attend the Learning Forum April 9-11 at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill. The location points to the high level of interest now supporting action in Congress designed to advance health information exchange at the state, regional and community levels. Interest in the issue is echoed in the Bush Administration, which pointed to electronic health records as one way to tackle the nation's healthcare woes in the State of the Union address.
The Connecting Communities Program, conducted by the eHealth Initiative Foundation, provides seed funding and technical support to multi-stakeholder collaboratives within communities which are using electronic health information exchange and other information technology tools to drive improvements in healthcare quality, safety and efficiency. The Learning Forum is a unique opportunity for practitioners and leaders in these collaboratives to identify common principles to advance their work, as well as strategies to tackle common issues -- clinical, financial, legal, organizational, and technical.
"Our research shows that communities are moving from talk to action, but they need assistance overcoming common financial challenges such as start-up funding and sustainability, and on technical issues such as linking patient data," said Janet Marchibroda, chief executive officer of the eHealth Initiative and its Foundation (eHI). "eHI convenes the Learning Forum to provide valuable educational resources from both national experts and trailblazers who are on the ground putting these principles into practice." The Learning Forum is expected to attract stakeholders from across the health information spectrum -- physicians and practice leaders, healthcare purchasers, health plans, healthcare IT suppliers, hospitals, laboratories, patient groups, quality improvement organizations, state and federal agencies and health information organizations at the state, regional and community levels.
This week eHI announces a beginning roster of forum speakers to include John Tooker, MD, MBA, executive vice president and chief executive officer of the American College of Physicians and president of the eHealth Initiative Foundation, who will moderate the American Health Information Community (AHIC) Panel discussion. AHIC, a federally chartered commission chaired by Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Michael Leavitt, was formed in September, 2005 to provide input and recommendations to HHS on how to advance efforts to reach President Bush's call for most Americans to have private, secure electronic health records within ten years.
Joining Tooker on the panel will be AHIC members Scott Serota, president and chief executive officer, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association; Charles N. Kahn III, president, Federation of American Hospitals; and Kevin Hutchinson, president and CEO, SureScripts.
AHIC members will be joined by a growing list of Forum speakers to include Mark McClellan, MD, PhD, administrator, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; Carolyn M. Clancy, MD, director, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; and Francois de Brantes, program leader, healthcare initiatives, General Electric.
"The Learning Forum brings together leaders in health information exchange who have put these principles into action, with a goal of encouraging partners and extenders working with emerging efforts," Tooker said. "Using case studies and in-depth discussions, the Learning Forum is designed to share tools for on-the-ground implementers to promote health information exchange using practical approaches. Hands-on help like this will move us all forward."