Candidates take positions on IT issues

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Healthcare reform and the need for information technology (IT) to improve efficiency and lower costs will be important issues during this year's election between President Bush and Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry (Mass.).

Bush's health IT plan includes creating electronic health records (EHRs) for most Americans within 10 years, which he said would contribute to cost savings and care quality.

Kerry has proposed an accelerated schedule of four years to provide EHRs for all Americans. He said universal EHRs, with the help of decision support software, will reduce waste and serious medical errors.

Kerry also has called for tax credits to businesses that provide broadband access to rural and other underserved communities, as well as a tax credit for investing in next-generation networks. He has proposed providing emergency responders with broadband connections by the end of 2006.

On the other hand, Bush has proposed making broadband Internet access available throughout the nation by 2007, a goal he plans to achieve through eliminating broadband access taxes, reducing regulatory barriers and creating incentives for communications companies.

In a maneuver that showed the nation his position on healthcare reform and nation-wide adoption of IT, Bush in May created the position of National Health Information Technology Coordinator under the department of Health and Human Services, to which he appointed David Brailer, MD, PhD.