AARP, Business Roundtable and SEIU this week jointly endorsed key principles for health IT legislation to Congress. The principles come as part of the “Divided We Fail" campaign launched earlier this year by the three groups, which urges Congress to address health IT immediately in order to increase safety and efficiency in the country's healthcare system. The groups believe that health IT will also be a critical building block for broader health reform.
"Health IT is about bringing safety and efficiency to our healthcare system," said AARP CEO Bill Novelli. "People seeking treatment have enough to worry about; if we can alleviate the fear that an error will occur, we need to try to do that. A secure, uniform, interoperable system that works for patients and providers will save time, stress and money. We look to Congress to set a firm timetable for its implementation so we can begin saving lives and resources as soon as possible."
Divided We Fail urged Congress to take immediate action on five central principles:
- Each American should have access to a secure, uniform, interoperable healthcare system;
- Lawmakers should keep in mind that adoption of a uniform health information system can improve health outcomes, and save money;
- The groups urge Congress to pass legislation providing standards for secure, uniform, interoperable healthcare IT;
- This legislation should include grants, loans, or tax credits for providers to assist in the purchase of interoperable health IT systems; and
- The legislation should also ensure adoption of interoperable systems by all payers and providers as early as possible.
"We can make our healthcare system more efficient and cost effective, and implementing a uniform, interoperable health IT system is the clear first step," said John Castellani, president of Business Roundtable. "The digital age has transformed virtually every other sector of the economy; it is time to bring the tremendous benefits of technology to our healthcare system by enacting health IT legislation."
SEIU President Andy Stern commented, "With the involvement of frontline nurses and other caregivers, HIT holds the promise to improve patient safety, reduce administrative costs, and allow caregivers more time with patients. HIT can transform healthcare for the benefit of those who deliver it and those who need it."