IT measures part of mix
Variety of measures try to leverage technology
Like pixie dust sprinkled on the healthcare industry’s woes, references to healthcare information technology are found scattered throughout the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the healthcare reform legislation that President Barack Obama signed into law last week.
In fact, the keywords “information technology” were mentioned 44 times in the 906-page law. It is also laced with additional references to EHRs and IT standards.
Meredith Taylor, director of congressional affairs with the Chicago-based Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, said she does not think Congress is relying too heavily on health IT as the solve- all solvent for the healthcare industry’s clinical and administrative grease spots.
“I think it’s important how health IT is addressed,” Taylor said. “It’s a tool in the process. When they’re talking about activities that providers need to do, they note health IT as one of many tools. In some grants that are provided for some pilot programs, it says that some applicants that use IT will be given priority consideration if they use EHRs. It’s definitely a piece of the puzzle.”
Taylor said HIMSS hopes to publish an itemized analysis of the IT provisions in the massive legislation within a few days.
Taylor’s HIMSS colleague, Elinore Boeke,