Twelve states are out in front when it comes to adopting health information technology in their statewide Medicaid programs and another two dozen are close behind, according to a just-released government report. But the level of progress and the types of technologies in use vary widely, and no state has implemented a personal health-record initiative, the report also shows.
HHS inspector generals office found that 12 state Medicaid agencies have implemented a total of 16 health IT initiativesincluding claims-based electronic health records, e-prescribing and remote disease monitoringfor their Medicaid populations.
The report also found that 25 state agencies are involved in the planning and development of statewide health-information-exchange networks.
The 12 states are: Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
President Bush has called for electronic health records to be widely available in the U.S. by 2014. But obstacles to the development of fully functional EHRs continue to dog state Medicaid directors, especially when it comes to keeping those records secure and private, and could end up stretching the presidents timeline. When you are breaking new ground, there is no cookbook for privacy and security issues, one director is quoted in the report as saying. Our lesson learned is that everything is more complex than you think it will be.
Based on the findings of the study, the inspector general's office said that the CMS should continue to work with states and other federal agencies to help accelerate the adoption of health IT. -- by Matthew DoBias
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