New Initiative Aims at Accelerating Advances in Health IT

An internationally-known health information technology (IT) leader and a top nonprofit health IT organization are collaborating with the Georgia Institute of Technology on a new public-private initiative designed to accelerate the use of health IT to benefit patients and providers -- as well as improve personal and population health.

Open Health Tools, Inc., is a multi-stakeholder open source community in which member organizations collaborate to create the shared platforms and tools necessary to build affordable and easy-to-use interoperable health IT solutions. Also joining the effort as its senior strategic advisor is Robert M. Kolodner, M.D., who is chief health informatics officer for Open Health Tools and former National Coordinator for Health Information Technology in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

"The over-arching mission of this initiative is to provide a virtual environment in which diverse stakeholders work together to unleash the innovations necessary to bring the industry to its future state," said Steve Rushing, director of Health@EI2, which is part of Georgia Tech's Enterprise Innovation Institute.

The new initiative will include participants from government, health care providers and provider organizations, patient and personal health advocacy organizations, open source and commercial vendors, public health organizations, academic and non-academic researchers, start-up companies and entrepreneurs.

"We want to accelerate the health IT advances necessary to deliver high quality, person-centered health and care and eliminate health disparities," said Kolodner. "Our initiative will gather a rich set of open source and commercial resources that enable public, private, and non-profit entities to begin collaborative projects quickly and with minimal start-up costs. By using proven processes that build trust and increase project success rates, the community will develop shared infrastructures and tools that deliver value and choice for users and create new business opportunities for vendors."

Kolodner will serve in a planning and participant coordination role, making use of his 30-plus years of experience in health information technology.

"Rob is not only nationally recognized as a health information technology expert, but also a deeply experienced collaborator and consensus builder among diverse groups," said Rushing. "He'll play a critical role in creating opportunities for widespread health IT innovation within and across organizations. Rob possesses a strategic view of policy implications on the national health care picture that cannot be obtained from any other source."

As former National Coordinator for Health Information Technology in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Kolodner took a lead role in activities to implement a nationwide health IT infrastructure and stimulate health IT use in the public and private sectors. Prior to his role at HHS, Kolodner had been the senior clinical health informatics leader at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) where he provided vision, direction, and leadership for VA's award-winning health IT activities, including its internationally acclaimed VistA Electronic Health Record, a personally-controlled Personal Health Record (PHR) for veterans (My HealtheVet), and the nationwide deployment of real-time, bi-directional exchange of electronic health information between VA and the Department of Defense.

Kolodner received an undergraduate degree from Harvard College and a medical degree from Yale University School of Medicine.

About Open Health Tools: Open Health Tools is an open source community with a vision of enabling a ubiquitous ecosystem in which diverse stakeholders in health and health IT can collaborate to build interoperable systems that enable patients and their care providers to have access to vital and reliable medical information at the time and place it is needed. Open Health Tools is working to generate a vibrant active ecosystem involving software product and service companies, medical equipment companies, health care providers, insurance companies, government health service agencies, patient and personal health advocacy organizations and standards organizations.

About Enterprise Innovation Institute: The Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute helps companies, entrepreneurs, economic developers and communities improve their competitiveness through the application of science, technology and innovation. It is one of the most comprehensive university-based programs of business and industry assistance, technology commercialization and economic development in the nation.

Enterprise Innovation Institute
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contacts: John Toon (404-894-6986)(jtoon@gatech.edu) or Abby Robinson (404-385-3364)(abby@innovate.gatech.edu).

 

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