Senate Approves Bill to Improve the Sharing of Health Care Information Using Cutting Edge Technology
The Senate has approved a bill which will encourage the use of cutting edge-information technologies in health care in order to improve patient care, reduce medical errors and contribute to cost savings to our health care systems
WASHINGTON- Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), a member of the Senate Health Committee, cosponsored the bill introduced by Senator Michael Enzi (R-WY).The bipartisan Wired for Health Care Quality Act, will lay the foundation for technology and information sharing among doctors, hospitals, and insurers and eventually enable all Americans going to the doctors office or hospital for medical care to present an electronic card or identification tag that instantly provides patient data, insurance and medical histories, wherever and whenever treatment is needed. Reed stated, This legislation is a critical first step to applying sophisticated information technology to dramatically improving the quality of patient care in America. This bipartisan bill will provide the incentive to transition the United States to a fully interoperable electronic health care records system and, I am hopeful, will help save lives and money.A recent Rand Corporation study projected a potential savings of $162 billion a year for the health care industry under the initiative.Laura Adams, President and CEO of Rhode Island Quality Institute, stated, We are extremely pleased to see this legislation has passed the Senate. This type of leadership is exactly what is needed to galvanize and advance the adoption of health information technology. The strong consumer protection components will play a significant role in speeding HIT adoption, as the success of adoption efforts will rise and fall in direct correlation to the publics trust.The bill will encourage private sector involvement by adopting the standard setting processes outlined in the American Health Information Collaborative. It also will establish grants to help leverage the federal governments investment in healthcare by targeting financial resources to providers who need help to get on line.The bill directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to:"Make recommendations to identify uniform national standards for adoption by the federal government to support the widespread adoption of health IT; "Award competitive grants to hospitals, group practices, and other health care providers to facilitate the adoption of health IT;"Award demonstration grants to health professions centers and academic health centers to integrate health IT into the clinical education of doctors and health care providers; "Establish a quality measurement system to ultimately reward health care providers who improve the quality of care patients receive;"Establish the public-private American Health Information Collaborative.; and"Creates and National Coordinator for Health Information technology.