Lawmaker, FCC Commissioner Highlight Promise of Health IT

September 19, 2014 in News

On Monday, a lawmaker and federal official highlighted the importance of electronic health record adoption and discussed federal health IT efforts during the fourth annual Consumer Health IT Summit in Washington, D.C.

Rep. Burgess Touts EHR Benefits

During the Consumer Health IT Summit, Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) said he used to have “a love-hate relationship with health IT,” but that damage done to paper medical records during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 changed his opinion, Clinical Innovation Technology reports.

While the HITECH Act has since allocated funding to help encourage providers adopt EHRs, Burgess said he “hear[s] from doctors, hospitals and patients that there are problems,” adding, “There are punitive aspects of meaningful use that have people fearful that they can’t get where they need to be in the time involved.”

Under the 2009 economic stimulus package, providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHRs can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.

Still, Burgess said that it is important “for patients to have access to information when and where they need it” and noted that the investment in EHRs is money “well spent” (Pedulli, Clinical Innovation Technology, 9/17).

FCC Official Highlights Connect2Health initiative

Meanwhile, Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Mignon Clyburn during the summit highlighted the agency’s efforts to take advantage of technological opportunities to improve health care, FierceHealthIT reports.

Clyburn highlighted FCC’s Connect2Health initiative, which is designed to leverage the agency’s knowledge to better connect broadband connectivity, new technologies and health. She said, “Broadband-enabled solutions can help communities better manage chronic diseases, address language barriers and improve health literacy” while bringing “the consumer back into consumer health IT and enabl[ing] engagement on an unprecedented scale” (Dvorak, FierceHealthIT, 9/16).

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