The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health approved by voice vote a bill to encourage the adoption of health information technology.
Many physicians aren't adopting electronic health technology, mainly because it's too expensive or they're concerned about adopting a system that doesn't meet certain technology standards, said Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), the subcommittee's chairman, in a statement. "We need strong leadership at the national level to improve the implementation and use of health information technology. The bill we are marking up today would accomplish this goal," Pallone said.
The bill, called the Protecting Records, Optimizing Treatment, and Easing Communication through Healthcare Technology Act of 2008, encourages adoption of electronic health records for each person in the U.S. by 2014, and calls on the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to develop a health information technology resource center to provide technical assistance and serve as a forum on health IT adoption. Competitive grant programs would be used to incentivize healthcare providers and other organizations to adopt the technology.
In addition, the bill would create a demonstration program to integrate health IT into the clinical education of healthcare professionals, setting aside $10 million over three years to fund the project.
Co-sponsors of the bill include Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.); Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), the committee's ranking member; Pallone; and Rep. Nathan Deal (R-Ga.), ranking member of the health subcommittee. A section-by-section analysis of the bill is also available.