Corporations and large public employers wanting to push healthcare organizations to increase spending on costly information technology systems should recognize that charity begins at home, according to guidelines issued today by the National Business Group on Health.
"Doctors are saying, correctly, this stuff is really expensive," said Helen Darling, president of the Washington, D.C.-based coalition of more than 200 large private-sector companies and large public-sector employers. "Corporations and their foundations should help, because this is a good investment for their communities."
On the flip side, Darling advised that hospitals and physicians groups contemplating IT projects "should look to corporate foundations" as a source of funds. In 2003, corporations and their foundations made $13.5 billion in cash and in-kind contributions to various causes, Darling said. "That's a lot of money."
The group is recommending members focus their attention on promoting general improvements in healthcare IT and, in particular, adopting computerized physician order entry systems. It also calls for members to support training efforts in IT, the cost of which is commonly cited barrier to adoption.
Finally, the group is recommending members demand evidence of need from providers planning to expand their facilities.