Bush calls for broad e-records use for health care

Bush calls for broad e-records use for health care

President Bush wants most Americans to have electronic health records within 10 years.

To meet that goal, Bush announced yesterday that he would create the new position of national health IT coordinator at the Health and Human Services Department. The coordinator will work with government, industry and health experts to promote e-health records use.

The president also urged HHS and private groups to complete their work on developing and adopting e-health standards that make it possible to electronically store and share medical information, such as digital X-rays, lab results and prescriptions. Bush also noted that the standards must assure the privacy and security of medical data.

'Modern technology hasn't caught up with a major aspect of health care, and we've got to change that,' Bush said at the American Association of Community Colleges Annual Convention in Minneapolis. 'Vital medical information is scattered in many places. Problems with drug interaction are not systematically checked. These old methods of keeping records are real threats to patients and their safety and are incredibly costly.'

Bush's fiscal 2005 budget proposes $100 million, doubling funding for demonstration projects by hospitals and health care providers to test new technologies and establish best practices that promote wide adoption of smart IT within the health care industry.

As one of the largest providers of health care services, the federal government can create incentives and opportunities for health care providers to use electronic records, the president said.

Under the Health IT Plan, HHS, the Defense Department and the Veterans Affairs Department have 90 days to review their policies and programs and propose modifications that will support the president's e-health goal.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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