Where Do Policy, Advocacy, Operations, and Technology Meet? Why Russ Branzell May Have the Answer

June 24, 2013
The May 6 announcement that the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) was calling for a one-year extension of Stage 2 of meaningful use has pushed the association deeper into the waters of policy and regulatory development. Can CHIME avoid becoming involved in partisan politics in its new push on MU?

When on May 6, the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) issued a formal response to a critique by six Republican U.S. senators of the meaningful use process under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, and called for a one-year extension of Stage 2, it was a clear signal that CHIME’s leaders have raised their association’s profile in the healthcare association and policy worlds. Indeed, when CHIME president and CEO Russ Branzell spoke first toHealthcare Informatics regarding that announcement, he emphasized that CHIME will be moving more aggressively into the public policy sphere, while remaining non-partisan and apolitical.

In fact, the creation of a beefed-up president and CEO role, and CHIME’s appointment of Branzell to that post earlier this year, represent at a core level a clear directional movement for the CIOs’ association, as CHIME wades further into the complex arena of federal policy (and inevitably, implicitly, politics), in order to try to ensure that the meaningful use program ends up being fair, both on the broader level, and also on the micro-level of specifics. While Russ Branzell emphasized to me in our May 6 interview that CHIME has no intention of getting into politics per se, he is a very savvy healthcare IT leader who has spent years with some involvement in federal and state policy processes, and is no naïf.

So it will be interesting to see how Russ Branzell and his fellow leaders at CHIME navigate the tricky waters of the federal legislative and policy processes.

Want to know what’s on Russ’s mind this week, following CHIME’s march to Capitol Hill last week? He will be the opening plenary speaker at the Healthcare Informatics Executive Summit in San Francisco this week, when he speaks on the topic “Charting a New Course in Healthcare: How Organized IT Leadership Can Proactively Shape Healthcare’s Future,” and will take questions from the audience following his prepared remarks. And it is still possible to register for and attend this important event.

Meanwhile, I think it will be fascinating to see how CHIME’s current policy push plays out on Capitol Hill. There are both potential risks and rewards; but what is clear to CHIME’s leaders is that keeping a distance from the regulatory and policy development processes won’t be helpful to CHIME’s members going forward, and that the level of the organization’s advocacy efforts will need to be intensified as meaningful use moves into its later phases, and as healthcare reform is implemented over time.

Sponsored Recommendations

Clinical Evaluation: An AI Assistant for Primary Care

The AAFP's clinical evaluation offers a detailed analysis of how an innovative AI solution can help relieve physicians' administrative burden and aid them in improving health ...

From Chaos to Clarity: How AI Is Making Sense of Clinical Documentation

From Chaos to Clarity dives deep into how AI Is making sense of disorganized patient data and turning it into evidence-based diagnosis suggestions that physicians can trust, leading...

Bridging the Health Plan/Provider Gap: Data-Driven Collaboration for a Value-Based Future

Download the findings report to understand the current perspective of provider and health plan leaders’ shift to value-based care—with a focus on the gaps holding them back and...

Exploring the future of healthcare with Advanced Practice Providers

Discover how Advanced Practice Providers are transforming healthcare: boosting efficiency, cutting wait times and enhancing patient care through strategic integration and digital...