The Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel will not disband at the end of this week when its current federal government contract expires, contrary to at least two published reports on Jan. 26.

That's the word from John Halamka, M.D., chair of HITSP and CIO at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School.

Funding from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology ends on Jan. 31, "but a no-cost contract extension has been approved by ONC to ensure all the members of HITSP stay engaged during the hiatus between the HITSP contract and the next phase of standards harmonization to be funded by ONC," Halamka told Health Data Management in an e-mail. "HITSP is not disbanding and will continue to operate the website, hold monthly informational update calls, participate in HIMSS and work with CMS on a Quality Data demonstration project."

ONC originally funded creation of HITSP in the fall of 2005 to harmonize relevant data standards to enable and advance interoperability. More than 500 public and private organizations have worked to harmonize standards through HITSP. This work results in various standards being used in concert to support certain functionalities, such as the exchange of laboratory orders between electronic health records, laboratory and other systems, and to link orders with results.

More information is available at hitsp.org.

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