Tennessean Examines Health IT
The Tennessean on Monday published an editorial andthree opinion pieces focusing on the use of health care informationtechnology and electronic health records. Summaries appear below.
- Tennessean: The "efforts in Washington" by the House Committee on Science and Technologyto pass a bill introduced by Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.) on health IT --which would seek to implement an "efficient way to share relevantinformation" about patients while securing patient privacy and "a highlevel of standards" -- "deserves support," the Tennesseanwrites in an editorial. A hand-written prescription that is "probablybut not certainly legible" seems like a "crude way to handle one of themost important aspects of human life," the editorial states, adding,"Health care is high-tech; sharing information on health care is oftenlow-tech." The Tennessean writes, "Gordon appears to beon to an important trend in health care," adding that the bill "istimely, and the need cannot be overstated. Congress should move forwardon such worthy legislation" (Tennessean, 10/8).
- Rep.Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.): The absence of a well-established health ITsystem in the U.S. is "costing us billions of dollars, countless hoursin lost time, and -- most tragically -- patients' lives," Gordon writesin a Tennesseanopinion piece. Gordon suggests that one reason why "the use of IT inthe health care industry lags behind other sectors such as financial,manufacturing and retail" is because of "the lack of interoperablerecord systems that also ensure privacy and data security." He saysthat the legislation he introduced in Congress would "promote theintegration" of U.S. health IT systems, "strengthen and reinforceongoing technical standards work for electronic records," and "ensurefederal agencies set a gold standard in their adoption, deployment anduse." The bill also would "establish a research program for the nextgeneration of information technologies," he writes (Gordon, Tennessean, 10/8).
- DavidGuth: Much of the health care industry "still balks at computerassistance for diagnosis and treatment, as if this responsibility canonly be entrusted to people," Guth, CEO of Centerstone and a member of Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen's (D) eHealth Advisory Council, writes in a Tennesseanopinion piece. He notes, "Every other area of science relies oncomputerized models with great success, as do other industries. We'reaccustomed to, and even comforted by, the fact that computers back uppilots in the cockpit." Guth continues, "Health care needs to movebeyond its reluctance" to adopt diagnostic IT more widely because itwill "not only make the industry more efficient, it will help improveclient care and outcomes" (Guth, Tennessean, 10/8).
- BryonPickard: "To be successful in improving health and achieve informationinteroperability, we must accelerate efforts to move away frominefficient paper-based information systems," Pickard, director ofoperations for the Vanderbilt Medical Group business office at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, writes in a Tennessean opinion piece. Pickard, who also is president of the American Health Information Management Association,continues, "Harmonization of technical standards and uniform adoptionof industry guidelines will be essential, not just for direct clinicalcare, but for the vast opportunities derived from the many importantuses of secondary data." He concludes, "We are making progress, and itis probably only a matter of time before consumers will be the truestewards of their health information" (Pickard, Tennessean, 10/8).
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