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House Committee Approves Health Information Technology Bill
On October 24, the House Science and Technology Committee approved H.R. 2406, the "Healthcare Information Technology Enterprise Integration Act." This bill, authored by Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN), the committee chairperson, was approved by voice vote.
H.R. 2406 would establish a role for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in developing guidelines and standards for the use of health information technology by federal agencies. The bill provides that such guidelines and standards would promote the use of health information technology in a manner that is:
(1) Sufficiently secure to meet the needs of federal agencies, their transaction partners, and the public;
(2) Interoperable, to the maximum extent possible; and
(3) Inclusive of ongoing federal efforts to harmonize existing standards and assist in the development of interoperability specifications.
The NIST, a federal agency within the Department of Commerce, would also be directed to set up an initiative for advancing the integration of health information technology. The bill would authorize $8 million yearly in fiscal years 2009 and 2010 to support the NIST in carrying out these everyday jobs.