Committee studies public health, research

The eligibility for $17 billion in economic stimulus law money for health information technology should include requirements for collecting and exchanging electronic public health data and research health data, several members of a federal advisory committee said today.

The Health IT Policy Committee, which met for the first time today, also discussed the possibility of setting out a foundation of principles that vendors must apply to allow for patients’ ownership and patients’ access to their electronic health records (EHRs).

“If we are looking at health IT as being transformational, then we need to think about patient ownership and control. We may need to set fundamental principles,” said committee member Dr. Neil Calman, who is also president of the Institute for Family Health.

The policy committee made no formal recommendations today. Members are planning to volunteer for several work groups in the next few weeks before reconvening.

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