State Government Affairs Update by ProQuest


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									                                                    STATE GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS
State Government Affairs Update
Mitchell Tobin, JD                               nology as part of an economic recovery pack-      less paperwork. It could also make it easier
Jana Conover, BA                                 age. State governments are also looking at        for individuals to maintain their wellness
Barbara Anderson, JD                             options for getting involved in the imple-        through better access to their own health
Bruce Allain, JD                                 mentation of HIT, and are actively question-      information.
                                                 ing what role (if any) they should have.              If HIT is used to create searchable data-
       his article looks at what state govern-   Vernon Smith, PhD, of Health Management           bases, it also could be used to detect and

T      ments are considering doing to facili-
       tate the development of health infor-
mation technology systems. Specifically, the
                                                 Associates has surveyed state governors and
                                                 has reported that 70 percent of states
                                                 consider e-health and HIT a very high prior-
                                                                                                   track infectious disease outbreaks. In addi-
                                                                                                   tion, health information databases may also
                                                                                                   improve the delivery of evidence-based
results of the “State Legislative Actions in     ity, and not one state listed it as not being a   healthcare, as each record becomes evidence
Health IT and Electronic Health Information      priority                                          of what treatments work well and which are
Exchange Financing” report, published by              CRNAs may play a key role in the adop-       less effective.
the National Conference of State Legislatures    tion of such HIT systems as automated anes-           Some healthcare experts have raised
for the National Governors Association Center    thesia information systems (e.g., electronic      concerns about the proliferation of HIT.
for Best Practices, are examined. This article   anesthesia records), or other broader-encom-      Bruce Klepper, a healthcare market analyst,
also includes a reminder regarding New Jersey    passing electronic record keeping systems         and David Kibbe, with the American
Board of Nursing rules requiring CRNAs to        within clinical facilities.                       Academy of Family Physicians, have
obtain advanced practice nurse status.                                                             published an open letter to President Obama,
                                                 What is Health Information                        noting that current HIT systems are expen-
Introduction                                     Technology?                                       sive, difficult to implement, and that elec-
Information technology, the Internet, and        One of the challenges in discussing what          tronic health records “from different vendors
electronic databases are transforming the way    needs to be done regarding HIT, as well as        are not yet interoperable, meaning that
business gets done. Healthcare produces a        the potential benefits and problems, is that      patient information cannot yet be easily
great deal of data that need to be accessed as   interested parties have differing ideas of what   exchanged between systems.” Kibbe and
professionals provide care to patients. The      HIT actually means.                               Klepper have stated that “[i]f America’s physi-
healthcare industry seems to be lagging              There seems to be a consensus that HIT        cian practices suddenly rushed to install the
behind some industries in the adoption of        includes electronic medical records, but          systems of their choice, it would only dramati-
information technology, though, despite a        some analysts also include within HIT             cally intensify the Babel that already exists.”
belief among some experts that health infor-     computerized entry systems for the ordering
mation technology (HIT) has the potential to     of tests or medications, support systems for      Barriers to the Adoption of HIT
reduce costs and improve care. A recent          clinical decision making, electronic prescrib-    One major barrier to the adoption of HIT is
survey published in the New England Journal      ing of medications, telemedicine, and biosur-     the costs versus financial benefits. For exam-
of Medicine, for example, showed only about      veillance (i.e., using electronic records to      ple, it can be extremely expensive and diffi-
17 percent of the nation’s physicians            monitor for a case of an unusual disease          cult for a healthcare professional to switch to
currently use computerized patient records.      and/or an unusual cluster of cases). Anytime      electronic medical records, and while there are
    The potential benefits of HIT, along with    a state proposal for aiding the development       financial benefits to such a switch, these bene-
the slow pace of progress so far, have led       of HIT is being discussed, it is necessary to     fits are often realized by the insurance payors
many policymakers to believe that govern-        determine which of these items is actually        or the patients, not the healthcare professional
ment involvement is necessary. The federal       being considered.                                 making the investment.
government has been involved, and may                                                                   Large, integrated healthca
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