The State Alliance for e-Health, which is sponsored by the National Governor's Association (NGA), has released new guidance which urges states to start planning now to foster health information exchanges and adoption of electronic health records. The guidance is entitled: Preparing to Implement HITECH: A State Guide for Health Information Exchange.
The report stated that this effort is a national priority, and the outline contains eight recommended actions:
"Action 1: Prepare or Update the State Plan for HIE Adoption
Action 2: Engage Stakeholders
Action 3: Establish a State Leadership Office
Action 4: Prepare State Agencies to Participate
Action 5: Implement Privacy and Security Strategies and Reforms
Action 6: Determine the HIE Operational and Business Model
Action 7: Create a Communications Strategy
Action 8: Establish Opportunities for Health IT Training and Education"
Several online publications, such as Federal Computer Week (FCW), highlighted the importance of the document. "The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act contained in the economic stimulus law provides at least $2 billion for health information exchanges and up to $45 billion in incentive payments to doctors and hospitals for digitizing their patient records. The law sets a goal of 2014 to dramatically increase the number of providers who are using electronic patient records and participating in health exchanges."
The State Alliance for e-Health document is an easy read, and I urge government technology leaders to take the time and work through it. The document also encourages states to consider broadband availability in HIEs.