April 7, 2016
Government Relations Update: HFES Thanks Senate HELP Committee for Improving Health IT Act
By Lewis-Burke Associates LLC
On March 10, HFES President William Marras and Government Relations Committee Chair Mica Endsley sent a letter of appreciation on behalf of the Society to Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander and Ranking Member Patty Murray. Copies of the letter were also sent to the other members of the HELP Committee to thank them for their unanimous support of the Improving Health Information Technology Act and for passing the bill through the committee. This bill would take a comprehensive approach to address the challenges of health IT and offers significant opportunity for human factors involvement. For example, the bill specifically targets issues such as patient access to electronic health information and the use of health IT to improve patient care, emphasizing the importance of human factors in the health-care space.
More specifically, the bill includes language that would require experts from the human factors field to be involved in the development of reporting criteria for the Health IT Rating Program. This addition would allow for significant involvement from HFES members moving forward and establish precedence for the incorporation of human factors research into the health IT space. In addition, the ultimate passage of this bill would increase visibility for the Society and its public policy priorities at the federal level.
Marras and Endsley also offered HFES as a resource to the committee as it continues to grapple with health IT-related issues. HFES government relations will work with the Senate HELP Committee to ensure the continued inclusion of human factors in future bills and to advocate for the Improving Health IT Act as it comes up for consideration on the Senate floor and in the House.
Lewis-Burke Associates LLC, a leading Washington, D.C.-based government relations and consulting firm, represents the public policy interests of scientific societies and institutions of higher education. Lewis-Burke's staff of about 20 government relations professionals work to promote the federal research and policy goals of HFES and the HF/E community.