Welcome to National Health IT Week 2011!
As indicated by President Obama in declaring Sept. 11 – 17 as National Health IT Week, when he signed the first Presidential Proclamation of National Health Information Technology Week, he said:
“Health information technology connects doctors and patients to more complete and accurate health records. Tools like electronic health records and electronic prescriptions help patients and providers make safer, smarter decisions about healthcare. This technology is critical to improving patient care, enabling coordination between providers and patients, reducing the risk of dangerous drug interactions, and helping patients access prevention and disease management services.”
The Senate has passed a resolution too (S.RES.262), “designating the week beginning on Sept. 12, 2011, and ending on Sept. 16, 2011, as ‘National Health Information Technology Week’ to recognize the value of health information technology in improving health quality.”
It’s exciting to work in healthcare during such a transformative time. Members of Congress on both sides of the political aisle agree that health IT is a key component in activities, such as quality reporting, improving administrative efficiencies and improving access to healthcare. Previous Congresses and Presidential administrations under the leadership of both political parties have recognized the enormous potential value of health IT, and there is wide agreement that significant healthcare delivery transformation is impossible without meaningful, system-wide adoption of EHRs and health information exchange.
More than 200 of your fellow HIMSS colleagues have come to Washington, D.C., this week to share key messages with their members of Congress. Even though you are not here in person, you can help by participating in HIMSS’ Virtual Outreach Initiative.
All you have to do is take a moment to send a pre-drafted letter to your elected officials. By reaching out to your Representative and Senators, you are showing them health information technology is an issue you care about and deserves the attention of Congress.
The messages we’re bringing to Congress this year—priorities recommended by the Asks Task Force and the Public Policy Committee—are as important as ever:
- To improve the quality of your constituents’ healthcare while also reducing its costs, such as through elimination of duplicative care, Congress should continue its strong bipartisan support for health information technology. Read more
- Congress should preserve the investment being made in the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records Meaningful Use Incentive Program as an essential tool critical to the healthcare transformation process. Read more
- To ensure your constituent is the right person getting the right healthcare at the right time, Congress should support the development of a nationwide patient identity solution by lifting the current statutory prohibition to allow HHS to address this issue along with other health IT policy enhancements. Read more
Do you agree with these priorities? What additional items would you add? Please share your thoughts in the comments here on the HIMSS Blog.
And please let your Members of Congress know of your interest in health IT issues by taking just a few moments to send a letter today!
P.S. For the latest policy updates, follow me on Twitter at @drobertsHIMSS, and subscribe to the weekly HIMSS Health IT Policy Update!