Technology CEO Council pushes e-health road map

The Technology CEO Council, a policy advocate group made up of the heads of some of the biggest information technology companies in the United States, has inserted itself into the debate over a national health information network with several reports that lay out recommendations and a road map for adopting information management technology in the health care system.

In its main report, the council calls for, among other things, the adoption of interoperable technology and common data standards by the various stakeholders in the debate. It also asks the federal government to drive market-based open standards and best practices in its own programs.

States should base Medicaid reimbursements on value, it adds, with additional incentives for the adoption of health IT.

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita exposed many problems in the health care system when paper health records were lost and victims of the storms were unable to access their health information and provide complete medical histories to caregivers, said Craig Barrett, chairman of Intel and also chairman of the council.

"It's clear that establishing a health care network that utilizes [IT] to improve care, reduce errors and cut cost is critical," he said.

The council also published an e-Health Readiness Guide that sets details for a road map and makes policy recommendations, in addition to suggested milestones to measure the progress of technology adoption.

The guide describes three general stages of electronic health -­ early, transitional and 21st century -­ so that organizations can evaluate where they are and what steps they need to take to get to the next stage.

"We are publishing the guide in order to encourage all of the [e-health] stakeholders and provide a point of reference and a means by which they can communicate with each other," said Hardy North, director of health care programs at Dell.

Dell, for example, would use the guide to help its customers with a gap analysis of their current situation and where they need to be, he said.

The Technology CEO Council intends to hold various regional briefings with the report and guide as a basis, first in North Carolina in November and then in Tennessee in January to bring the various stakeholders in the health care debate together to drive discussions of the technology issues, Hardy said.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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