National Alliance for Advancement of Health Care IT says 21st Century technology needed to improve U.S. Health Care delivery system

WASHINGTON, July 21, 2004 -- The National Alliance for Advancement of Health Care IT (HIT) today called upon hospitals, doctors, and other health care service providers to adopt and use 21st century health information technology in order to improve the quality, safety, and efficiency of the US health care delivery system.

The Alliance, a coalition of six prominent associations representing large employers, insurance companies, and health plans covering over 150 million Americans, issued a statement that common electronic standards need to be established for technology to effectively enable practitioners to customize care for patients and coordinate care across the entire delivery system.

"Little, if any, progress will be made in improving patient safety and quality of care without significant investments in information technology. But, just automating bad processes will not improve anything," says Helen Darling, president of the National Business Group on Health, one of the Alliance's six organizations. "Major system and process redesigns are needed to ensure that IT investment truly enhances productivity and ensures safe, high quality care. These electronic standards will help guide physicians, hospitals and other practitioners in making informed purchasing decisions, and reduce their internal cost of acquiring information systems."

"Public and private sector purchasers and payers of health care agree that strategies to encourage the adoption and use of this technology must be adopted if we are to accelerate efficiency and productivity gains in the system," said Francois de Brantes, President of Bridges to Excellence, another Alliance member. "Ultimately, our goal is that the improvements we bring to the system accrue to patients, payers, purchasers, providers and consumers, while ensuring that the privacy of individual patient records is properly protected."

The Alliance members will work closely with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Office of Personnel Management, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Physicians, and other public and private sector organizations. Together, they will develop a common agenda during the next 90 days that will identify specific strategies; and implement the agenda in the years to come.

Among the strategies the Alliance is considering are:

1. Identifying mechanisms, including but not limited to financial and non-financial incentives, to overcome the current barriers to HIT adoption and use, while recognizing potential cost implications for all stakeholders.

2. Exploring avenues to share standardized data and contribution to electronic personal health records.

3. Initiate and pursue collaboration among all stakeholders to support each other in the adoption and implementation of HIT to advance the quality, safety, and efficiency of health care.

"The diffusion of technology that consistently meets the expectations of all stakeholders will provide an opportunity for quality goals to be set and performance reported, giving health care providers, patients, purchasers and payers the information they need to make informed health care decisions," said Suzanne Delbanco, CEO of The Leapfrog Group, another Alliance member.

About the National Alliance for Advancement of Health Care IT

The National Alliance for Advancement of Health Care IT is a non-profit organization comprised of America's Health Insurance Plans, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, Bridges to Excellence, The Leapfrog Group, The National Business Coalition on Health, and The National Business Group on Health. The Alliance represents more than 150 million Americans and is dedicated to developing health care technology solutions to improve the quality and efficiency of the U.S. health care system.

SOURCE National Alliance for Advancement of Health Care IT

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