Over half of states implementing health IT initiatives

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Over half of the U.S. states are either planning or under-way with health IT (HIT) adoption or health information exchange initiatives, with seven additional states now in the implementation process, according to new survey findings from the eHealth Initiative and its Foundation (eHI).   

The eHI survey looked at 165 HIT efforts across the country that involve multiple stakeholders. The survey also looked at an emerging trend in such efforts which is the role that state leaders play in promoting the adoption of these technologies within their states.     

"Many states are now launching public-private collaborative efforts to develop plans and roadmaps for improving health and healthcare through HIT," said Emily Welebob, vice president, program operations, eHI. "While national standards are needed to facilitate interoperability nationwide, we recognize that healthcare is essentially local, and leadership at the state, regional and community levels is what drives implementation through a shared vision, goals and a plan."

Other key findings include:

  • Nearly half of the states have either an executive order or a legislative mandate in place that is designed to stimulate the use of HIT;
  • The drive towards quality, patient safety and reducing rising healthcare costs rank high as the primary drivers for state adoption;
  • Most states have multi-stakeholder activities underway to develop plans for improving care with such technology, and increasingly states are providing grant funds to support such efforts;
  • Many governors or state health departments are taking leadership in state-wide efforts; and
  • Most states recognize the importance of local efforts in implementation.

     According to eHI's most recent July 2006, about 125 health IT-related bills have been introduced in 38 states, with 36 bills in 24 states passed into law. The most common provisions establish a task force to study the impact of HIT, or authorize a committee to create a strategy for the development, implementation and adoption of electronic medical records and/or a health information infrastructure, the organization said.

The full survey report will be released in September in conjunction with eHI's Third Annual Health Information Technology Summit (Summit), Sept.25-27 in Washington, D.C.