Widespread adoption of health information technology is crucial to achieving a more-affordable and higher-quality health system, health plan executives seemed to agree at the annual conference of their trade association last week.
Health IT was one of the key areas of discussion at the meeting of America's Health Insurance Plans, or AHIP, in San Francisco.
Three potential values of health IT are helping patients better control their chronic diseases, increasing the use of evidence-based medicine among providers and lowering administration costs, said Charles Kennedy, vice president of health IT at WellPoint.
Health IT can help deploy and manage wellness programs, which has the potential to reduce healthcare costs, said Tommy Thompson, former HHS secretary and senior adviser to Deloitte. We've got to get into a wellness and prevention system in America, he said.
Thompson went so far to suggest that health plans could learn something from the Internal Revenue Service in simplification of processes and forms for their members, potentially saving them millions. Karen Ignagni, president and chief executive officer of AHIP, said the trade group has a very aggressive effort under way on administration simplification, including their personal health record initiative to create common templates among health plans.