recommended reading

Report: States poised to quickly establish health IT overhaul

As members of Congress weigh legislation to create a nationwide system of electronic health records, states are poised to act quickly through coordinated efforts with healthcare providers, industry, and the federal government, according to a report released today by the State Alliance for E-Health, a panel created by the National Governors Association. Most urgently, states should encourage electronic prescribing and protect patient privacy, the authors said.

Comment on this article in The Forum.The report said adoption of e-prescribing has been slow, even though the necessary infrastructure and standards exist. Congress helped by approving a veto-proof Medicare reimbursement bill in July that included incentives for physicians who use e-prescribing starting in 2009. In addition, privacy and security measures are important because public trust can make or break an e-health effort, the report said, noting that states must ensure consistent policies to protect data and secure exchange.

In many cases, privacy and security requirements are scattered among different chapters of state legislation and regulation, some of which are outdated because they were written for a paper-based system. States should consolidate and update relevant statutes for the electronic age and support efforts to reduce variation of state privacy requirements. The report noted that several Gulf Coast states, for example, have already formed a task force to reduce privacy and security vulnerabilities and work on plans to support interoperable e-health systems across the region.

The alliance, which is chaired by Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, a Democrat, and Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas, a Republican, noted the importance of interoperability, citing the high cost of overhauling "legacy" systems to enable greater connectedness.

The report gives a nod to the federal government for already having launched several initiatives aimed at creating a broad framework to "securely connect providers, health systems, consumers, and communities to electronically share health information as necessary and appropriate." The paper urges states to keep tabs on those efforts and participate in standard-setting processes.

"We must harness our American ingenuity to bring about a technological revolution in America's healthcare system," Douglas said in a statement. Bredesen added that the United States spends more per capita on health care than any other developed country but has failed to achieve the results citizens deserve.

"Improving e-health is about improving a patient's overall healthcare experience, from increasing efficiency and coordination of health care and reducing duplicative visits to preventing medication errors and protecting the public's health," he said.

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

    Download
  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.