State lawmakers to investigate their role in health IT

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The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) has launched an 18-month-long project to examine state governments’ role in health IT and how legislatures can advance the adoption of e-health records.

About 15 state legislators and staff members will guide the study project, known as Health IT Champions, or HITCh, said Kala Ladenheim, the project director. She said that the major barriers to adopting health IT are not political, not technical. Legislators could be helpful in overcoming those barriers, she said. Massachusetts State Sen. Richard Moore, Florida State Rep. Anna Benson, and Joseph Flores, fiscal analyst for the Virginia General Assembly will head the team. Moore and Benson head the health committees of their legislative bodies, Ladenheim said.

The project will also include private-sector sponsors, which contribute $10,000 to take part. The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society was the first to sign up, and others have followed suit, Ladenheim said, but she is looking for more sponsors.

The project team will meet for the first time in December in conjunction with an NCSL meeting in San Antonio.