U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) today praised passage this week of legislation to modernize health care by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee. Senator Alexander cosponsored this legislation along with nine other Senators from both parties.
The Wired for Health Care Quality Act of 2007 would invest in health care technology to improve the quality of patient care and reduce administrative costs and medical errors caused by a lack of information.
“Electronic medical records will improve health care by giving doctors and nurses the ability to look at a patient’s entire medical history at once,” Alexander said. “Using technology this way will help reduce health care costs. More importantly, it will mean better care for patients and will even save lives. It’s time for our hospitals and doctors’ offices to enter the 21st Century.”
The Act, which now must go before the full Senate, would help speed up the adoption of standardized Information Technology (IT) systems in the medical community by:
• Establishing public–private partnerships to provide recommendations regarding standards, including patient privacy, information security, and appropriate uses of health information.
• Requiring that the national strategy on health IT includes strong privacy protections, including methods to notify patients if their medical information is wrongfully disclosed.
• Establishing a Health Information Technology Resource Center where IT users can learn from the previous experience of others who have implemented qualified health IT systems.
The Act would also provide grants to hospitals, doctor offices and insurance providers for the purchase of health IT systems, to states establishing low-interest loan programs for medical providers to acquire health IT systems and towards the implementation of regional or local health information exchange plans.