Health IT Will Lead To More Efficient Care

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Health IT

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"Greateruse of health information technology will translate into much safer and moreefficient care," as well as "connect more Americans to information onquality and cost and give them more control over their health careoptions," HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt writes in a Des Moines Register opinion piece. Leavitt says thatdoctors "also benefit from the use of electronic health records,"which "save [them] from having to read through pages and pages ofhandwritten notes"; notify them "immediately to dangerous druginteractions and allergies"; allow "prescriptions to be sent directlyfrom the handheld [computer] to the pharmacy"; and enable researchers to"track treatment outcomes so that they can learn more quickly fromclinical practice what works best."

Leavitt notes that HHS "has helped develop software standards to ensurethat electronic health information systems are interoperable" and in 2008"will be working to expand adoption of certified, interoperable electronichealth records by as many as 1,200 small- and medium-sized physicianpractices." According to Leavitt, the use of health IT "is not justabout getting computers into doctors' offices. It's about creatinginteroperable systems connecting the doctor's office with the hospital, thelab, the pharmacy, the researcher and the consumer." He concludes,"That will transform our health care sector to provide better care atlower cost for all Americans" (Leavitt, Des Moines Register,1/31).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health PolicyReport is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J.Kaiser Family Foundation.

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