The House Energy and Commerce Committees health subcommittee approved by voice vote a bill to encourage the adoption of health information technology.
Many physicians arent adopting health IT, mainly because its too expensive or they worry about adopting a system that doesnt meet technical standards, said Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), the subcommittees 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, according to Pallone.
The Protecting Records, Optimizing Treatment, and Easing Communication through Healthcare Technology Act of 2008 encourages adoption of electronic health records, or EHRs, for each person in the U.S. by 2014, and calls on the national coordinator for health IT to develop a resource center to provide assistance and serve as a forum on health IT adoption. Competitive grant programs would be used to spur 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 effort.
Co-sponsors of the bill include Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.); ranking committee member Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas); Pallone; and ranking subcommittee member Rep. Nathan Deal (R-Ga.). A section-by-section analysis of the bill is available here. -- by Jennifer Lubell