Bush to mandate health IT quality standards for federally funded providers
In a few weeks, the Bush Administration has plans to mandate all providers of healthcare that are federally funded to adhere to new quality assurance tools and standards for information technology adoption and usage. The announcement was made Sunday by Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt at a session of the National Governors Association's annual meeting. The goal is to limit healthcare cost inflation and to boost the quality of medical care, the Washington Post reports
President Bush will accomplish this through an executive order. Additionally, Leavitt said that many of the nation’s 100 largest private employers will ink contracts with the healthcare providers their workers utilize, according to the Post.
Bush’s executive order would impact Medicare beneficiaries and the doctors and hospitals that serve them, as well as those participating in other federally financed healthcare plans. Such providers would have to adhere to standards for IT systems they use; care standards for certain health problems; and report treatments outcomes to measure quality, the Post reports.

Though they can’t make this decision for states, the Bush administration also would like to see all governors take up these kinds of requirements for groups that provide care for state employees and Medicaid recipients, the Post reports.

Some governors have shown interest in this but there are fears that physicians will not like to have their work evaluated on terms of quality outcomes. Leavitt said that not all doctors fear the change – in fact some embrace the chance to be measured against their peers – but conceded that some physicians are "skeptical we can create a system that measures quality accurately," the Post reports.
The proposed executive order will cover four basic functions, at least to start: patient registration, lab results reporting, prescriptions writing, and securing communication lines between patients and doctors and other providers.