The federal government's initial focus for advancing health information technology will be helping the private sector organize to reduce the risks of investing in electronic health records and stimulating community-based collaborations among providers using IT products certified as having a base level of desirable features. Addressing more than 1,000 attendees at a Washington conference, David Brailer, the national IT coordinator, said HHS will form a technology leadership panel to explore what immediate steps the public and private sectors should take to spur health IT adoption. Its report, due no later than this fall, will assess the costs and benefits of health IT to the industry and society and evaluate the urgency of particular investments. Brailer said the government will give special attention to promoting health IT in rural and other underserved areas, for example, adapting the Defense Department's battlefield experience with remote operations to the needs of rural providers. Brailer said incentives for IT adoption are a top priority, but he did not offer specifics. -- by John Morrissey
U.S. to lean on private sector in initial IT push
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