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Health IT Now! Coalition Urges Congress to Pass Health Information Technology Bill This Year
Date:9/17/2007

Medical practitioners, patients and employers recommend immediate adoption of interoperable health information technology

WASHINGTON, Sept. 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Health IT Now! Coalition, co-chaired by former Sen. John Breaux and former Rep. Nancy Johnson, held a Capitol Hill briefing today to promote legislation that would provide clear interoperable standards for the rapid deployment of health information technology. Patient advocates, medical advocacy groups, practitioners, and employers agree that health IT is a pressing issue and that Congress needs to pass legislation this session.

Presenters at the event included Dr. Mohammad N. Akhter, executive director of the National Medical Association; Andrew Sperling, director of federal legislative advocacy at the National Alliance on Mental Illness; Jennifer Queen, a patient advocate, and Neil Trautwein, vice president of employee benefits policy counsel at the National Retail Federation.

"It's time for Congress to act so that our health care system can begin to deliver to patients the many, many benefits we are currently missing," said former Sen. Breaux. "Industries have benefited from the widespread adoption of information technology. Health IT involves no more than implementing the kind of electronic information systems already used in many business sectors and putting it to work in health care."

Health IT legislation will save lives and will make healthcare more affordable. Integrating decision support technology will help doctors identify inappropriate and unnecessary care, thereby reducing costs. In addition, greater efficiencies from health IT will lower future health-care insurance premiums while simultaneously improving clinical outcomes. Health IT reduces administrative costs and eliminates duplicative and lost test results, which today accounts for approximately 20 percent of all tests.

The Health IT Now! Coalition believes federal legislation should include:

-- Permanence in statute for a federal responsibility to lead a public-

private process to establish standards for system interoperability,

product certification, and quality measures and an accelerated

process for standards improvement;

-- Federal financial incentives to practitioners of care to facilitate

the adoption of Health IT, and for communities, states, and other

entities to plan HIT components and develop Health Information

Exchanges;

-- Federal focus on consumer empowerment through patient education tools

to encourage patient use of electronic health records and provider

quality information; and

-- Federal leadership of a federal-state process to resolve policy

issues, like privacy and professional licensure, central to a secure

and safe care system, thereby providing a secure and safe care system.

The Health IT NOW! Coalition is a nonprofit coalition based in Alexandria, VA whose membership includes patient groups, providers, and employers. Its primary focus is to promote the rapid deployment of health information technology across America by urging Congress to adopt interoperability legislation.

Visit http://www.healthITnow.org to learn more about the coalition, its principles and its membership.

Members include:

American Academy of Nursing

American Homeowners Grassroots Alliance

American Society of Clinical Oncology

The Boeing Company

Consumers for Competitive Choice

FasterCures

Genetic Alliance

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers

Latino Coalition

Marshfield Clinic

National Alliance for Caregiving

National Alliance on Mental Illness

National Association of Manufacturers

National Disease Clusters Alliance

National Medical Association

National MS Society

National Patient Advocate Foundation

National Retail Federation

Parkinson's Action Network

Research!America

RetireSafe

Seniors Coalition

US Oncology

Verizon

Women Work!

World Institute on Disability


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SOURCE Health IT Now!
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