Hospitals are waiting to learn more details about the federal government's plan to promote health information technology standards and quality measurements. HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt told the National Governors Association this past weekend that President Bush will issue an executive order this fall to put into place by year-end an IT and quality-standards plan affecting providers, the Washington Post reported. At an Aug. 1 meeting of the American Health Information Community, Leavitt described a three-part plan. The government would require healthcare providers to use health IT that adheres to standards set by the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology and to report on a "starter set" of quality measures as a condition of doing business with the federal government. In addition, the federal government would develop consumer and provider incentives to encourage wider IT use and quality reporting, Leavitt said.
"As with so many of these proposals, it's a little difficult to understand the impact without more details," said Nancy Foster, vice president of quality and patient-safety policy at the American Hospital Association. At the AHIC meeting, Leavitt said he hopes to recruit the nation's 100 largest employers to help push standards adoption and IT use. He reportedly asked the nation's governors to consider imposing the same requirements on providers that treat Medicaid beneficiaries. View a videocast of the AHIC meeting. -- by Andis Robeznieks