Schwarzenegger includes HIT in executive order to improve healthcare

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Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed on Friday an executive order that moves forward California's efforts to adopt health information technology (HIT), which can reduce medical errors, improve patient care, and keep costs down. A statewide HIT policy will ensure that accurate, updated information is available wherever patients are treated.

"I am committed to improving the quality, transparency and accountability of healthcare in our state, and this executive order is a step forward in our work to fix California's broken healthcare system," said Schwarzenegger. "This order directs my administration to bring in the best minds from the public and private sectors to develop a market-based strategy to achieve our goals and reduce costs."

The governor toured medical facilities to view the latest in HIT with staff of UC San Diego, as well as U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt and California Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary Kimberly Belshè. HIT — such as universal electronic prescribing, allows for more accurate and timely diagnosis and treatment, reducing healthcare costs. Leavitt pointed out that "anyone doing business with the federal government in the future needs to have electronic medical records that are interconnectable..."

One of President Bush's Four Cornerstones of Value-Driven Healthcare is the inclusion of HIT. The president's initiative directs federal agencies to promote quality and efficiency in government-administered or sponsored healthcare programs. California is partnering with the federal government in implementing the healthcare system changes, including a possible 3.45 billion in federal funds.