Last week both a House of Representatives and Senate version of a new bill dubbed the “Independent Health Record Bank Act of 2006” were introduced that look to provide electronic health record accounts to individuals in a fashion similar to ATM and online banking. The Senate version was introduced by U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and the House version was put forward by Democratic U.S. Rep. Dennis Moore also from Kansas, the Kansas City Business Journal reports.
The bill provides a means of creating a nationwide health IT with guidelines for establishing EHR banks available exclusively to nonprofit cooperative institutions. Vendors could stand to profit from this by providing the needed technologies for the initiative, the Journal reports.
Moore stated in a release his belief that this program could save the United States large amounts of money, which in light of the ever rising costs of healthcare would be extremely welcome. Moore’s office also cited a study by Rand Corp. which found that electronic medical records in wide use could save the industry $162 billion annually. The new program being proposed would only cost $10 billion, and thus there would still be a net savings of $150 billion.
The “Independent Health Record Bank Act” would enable individuals to safely store their medical histories and essential information in certified EHR banks that would be monitored by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) as well as the attorney general. The records held in the network would remain the property of the individual, the Journal reports.
The model for the network would be the banking industry and credit card industry with its ATM cards, online information access. Providers with permission also would have instant access to critical health information through the system.
Interestingly, the bill would provide a way for users to actually make money off their accounts by allowing anonymous sales of data for research, for example. The bill also would grant tax credits to companies willing to encourage employee to take part in the program, the Journal reports.