An effective electronic health-record system helps providers deliver more efficient healthcare, and the federal government needs to promote health information technology use, according to Peter Orszag, director of the Congressional Budget Office.
Testifying during the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee meeting, Orszag said the government could encourage or require physicians to use IT through Medicare bonuses and subsidies, or penalties for noncompliance. Orszag, who delivered nearly the same message to the House Budget Committee a week ago, said mandating doctors to buy EHRs would have less impact on the government budget. Some version of a requirement or an explicit or implicit penalty for providers who fail to adopt health IT is likely to be more cost-effective for the federal government than a subsidy, Orszag said in his written testimony.
Orszag was joined by others who testified about the need for more use of healthcare technology, privacy protections and a coordinated approach to adopting health IT systems: Yul Ejnes, a physician who is chairman of the Medical Services Committee at the American College of Physicians; Deven McGraw, director of the Health Privacy Project at the Center for Democracy and Technology; Matthew King, chief medical officer of Clinica Adelante, Surprise, Ariz.; Douglas Reding, a physician who is vice president of Marshfield (Wis.) Clinic; LeRoy Jones, principal and chief executive officer of GSI Health, Philadelphia; and Dave Whitlinger, director of healthcare device standards and interoperability at Intel Corp.