N.H. governor seeks to improve health IT infrastructure

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New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch has directed the Citizens Health Initiative to develop a plan for improving the state's health information infrastructure to improve healthcare quality and affordability for residents.

“Our goal is to keep New Hampshire one of the healthiest states in the nation, and make sure more of our citizens have access to quality healthcare, at a more affordable cost,” Lynch told Government Technology. "Technology can help us reach that goal, by doing for the healthcare industry what it has done for virtually every other industry — improve quality and efficiency, which cuts down on errors and reduce costs.”

Lynch issued an executive order directing the N.H. Citizens Health Initiative to work with hospitals, providers and businesses to further develop the state's health IT infrastructure in a way that will encourage common standards and coordinated efforts and ensure the privacy personal medial information is protected.

“We want to make sure New Hampshire citizens get the maximum value from the increasing use of technology in healthcare,” Lynch said. “That is why I am asking the Citizens Health Initiative to bring people together now to make sure we develop common standards.”

In 2005, Lynch created the Citizens Health Initiative, bringing together lawmakers, state government officials, business leaders, healthcare providers, workers and insurance experts to address the state's healthcare challenges.

The executive order directed the Citizens Health Initiative to convene a working groups comprised of various stakeholders from across the state. The strategic plan will be delivered to Lynch by Dec. 1.

Through the work of the N.H. Citizens Health Initiative, the state has set the goal of being the first state in the United States to ensure all physicians have the ability to prescribe medications electronically, which will help lower costs and reduce errors.