Legislation that would put HHS' information technology efforts under closer congressional scrutiny garnered unanimous approval in the Senate. The House is considering a similar bill. The Senate bill, known as the Wired for Health Care Quality Act, would earmark $125 million for grants and loans to providers to encourage their participation in a national IT network and would enact into law the office of the national health IT coordinator within HHS. Currently, the position is assigned under executive order. The bill would give Congress more oversight over groups related to the office, such as the American Health Information Community, including the ability to shape the groups' policies and procedures on privacy and security issues. In addition, HHS would be required to develop clinical measures to judge the effectiveness of its IT efforts in improving patient safety and quality of care. -- by Matthew DoBias
Senate approves bill to oversee, fund IT efforts
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