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CHIME, Republican Congress, health IT policy hot HIT news

The HIT Squad brings updates from conferences in San Antonio, Boston and Cambridge, Mass., dealing with CHIME and the Apple smartwatch.

What the Republican victories in the Nov. 4 election mean for health IT remain to be seen. For now, however, provider CIOs aren't panicking. After the GOP takes control of both houses of Congress in January, CIOs and others pushing for a meaningful use slowdown will likely get their wishes fulfilled sooner rather than later, according to Jeff Smith, director of public policy for the College of Information Management Executives (CHIME).

As SearchHealthIT news and features writer Shaun Sutner reports in this edition of the "HIT Squad" podcast, recorded with news director Don Fluckinger, Smith notes that bipartisanship will still be needed to coordinate federal health IT policy because the GOP majorities in the House and Senate aren't veto-proof.

Meanwhile, Fluckinger reports in the podcast on his recent trip to San Antonio for CHIME's annual fall forum that the mood among CIOs was unsettled at best.

The CIOs convened amid uncertainty about who really is running ONC with former coordinator Karen DeSalvo, M.D., dispatched to oversee the federal Ebola response (while still supervising ONC part-time) and the elections looming -- all making the CIOs' technology and budgeting decisions next year unclear.

The podcast also covers the latest in mHealth. As Apple Corp. prepares to unleash its perhaps genre-defining smartwatch on the world, other new health tech gadgets and systems -- ranging from a "thermonitor" that tracks fevers remotely to a lapel-clipped wearable to combat seasonal depression - were showcased at the 11th annual Connected Health Symposium in Boston.

Also this fall, the innovative "unconference" called HealthCamp unfolded, appropriately enough, at Microsoft Corp.'s New England Center for Research and Development in Cambridge, Mass., drawing health IT social media thought leaders.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Shaun Sutner, news and features writer or contact @SSutner on Twitter.

Next Steps

Preview of CHIME Fall Forum examines health IT policy

Exercise monitoring one capability of healthcare smartwatches

Karen DeSalvo on the challenges of health IT policy

Dig Deeper on HITECH Act and meaningful use requirements

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