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Gooding, Walston Attend White House Meeting on Health Information Technology

PCC's Carol Walston (second from left) and Kay Gooding (second from right) take time out from last month's town hall meeting for a group photo with Judy Murphy, Deputy National Coordinator for Programs and Policy, Farzad Mostashari, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, and David Muntz, Principal Deputy National Coordinator, left to right.

WINTERVILLE—Pitt Community College's Kay Gooding and Carol Walston joined a diverse group of health care providers last month for a meeting with senior Obama Administration officials on the status of health information technology (HIT).

The invitation-only town hall meeting, which took place June 19 in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex, focused on ways HIT can improve health care quality and patient health.

As a result of federal health care reform legislation, all medical records must be converted to an electronic format by 2014. Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are expected to improve the quality and efficiency of medical care by making information exchanges possible between health care providers and public health authorities.

Since receiving funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (award number 90CC0078) in 2010, PCC has led a regional consortium charged with teaching individuals who have information technology and health care backgrounds the skills needed to implement EHRs. Gooding is project director of the PCC-led Region D Health Information Technology (HITECH) Workforce Training Program while Walston serves as director of Pitt’s HITECH Workforce Training Program.

In all, 88 individuals, representing hospitals, clinics, universities, the payer community, and other areas of health care, accepted invitations to last month’s town hall meeting in Washington, D.C.

White House members in attendance included Cecilia Munoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, and Liz Fowler, special assistant to the president for health care and economic policy. Farzad Mostashari, director of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, moderated the session.

The day prior to the town hall meeting, Kathleen Sebalius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, spoke with attendees about the use of HIT to improve health care.