Petya Petrova - Fotolia

'Next generation of health IT policy' for medical informatics

Jeff Smith, public policy VP of the American Medical Informatics Association said informatics pros and health IT CIOs have some common interests.

In June, Jeff Smith exchanged his former job as vice president of public policy for the College of Health Information Management Executives, for a post with the same title at the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA).

At AMIA, Smith joins president and CEO Doug Fridsma, M.D., who came to AMIA from his former position as chief science officer at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.

With his intimate knowledge of Capitol Hill and health IT issues, Smith promises to amp up AMIA's legislative and policy presence.

But now, as Smith explained in this podcast, his constituency is not the mostly MBA-armed CIOs of healthcare provider organizations, but rather chief medical information officers, medical informaticists and medical researchers.

While the issues of those two communities intersect (lobbying for an easier-to-use meaningful use process, for example), Smith said at AMIA he'll be promoting the "next generation of health IT policy."

"The AMIA membership doesn't just care about data in IT, they care about making that data mean something," Smith said in the podcast.

One important function of Smith's job at AMIA, he said, will be working on the National Institutes of Health's funding for "vital research dollars" for medical informatics projects.

Another is aligning with President Obama's precision medicine initiative, Smith said.

And with the ICD-10 Oct. 1 deadline rapidly approaching, Smith said that while ICD-10 won't be a critical concern for AMIA, its members see the new coding system as a positive step that will improve the quality of medical information -- the chief mission for the group.

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

Next Steps

AMIA helped define health informatics field

RSNA 2014 attendee shared his thoughts on analytics, informatics

AMIA task force working to improve EHRs

Dig Deeper on Clinical data analytics software and systems