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Andrew Balas, dean of the College of Health Sciences at Old Dominion University, has been appointed to the newly established Healthcare Information Technology Advisory Panel by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.

The panel will focus attention on the improvement of patient safety and clinical processes as new health care information systems are implemented. It includes representatives from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, American Health Information Management Association, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Veterans Health Administration, and Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society and is comprised of researchers, physicians, nurses, chief information officers, educators, and leaders of health care organizations.

Members will be asked to recommend ways the Joint Commission's accreditation process and the widespread use of technology can be used to help reengineer the delivery of patient care that result in major improvements in safety, quality and efficiency. In addition to safety and quality issues, panel members will exchange lessons learned and examine topics such as the impact of electronic health records on performance benchmarking and public reporting capabilities.

Balas, who joined Old Dominion in 2004, has served previously as a Congressional Fellow and worked on health care legislation for the Public Health and Safety Committee of the U.S. Senate. He also served on several expert panels of the Institute of Medicine, state government committees and sections of the National Institutes of Health.

Balas is a member of the National Advisory Council for Healthcare Research and Quality of the Secretary of Health and Human Services, board of directors of the American Medical Informatics Association, and the steering committee of the eHealth Initiative. He is an elected member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts and fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics.

Balas received an M.D. from Semmelweis University and a master's degree in applied mathematics from Eotvos University, both in Hungary, and a Ph.D. in health informatics from the University of Utah School of Medicine.

This article was posted on: September 29, 2005

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