Missouri forms health IT task force

Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services

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Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt announced the creation of a health information technology task force yesterday to study and recommend how government and private organizations can better share data.

Julie Eckstein, who leads the state’s Department of Health and Senior Services, will be chairwoman of the 14-member task force to assess the state’s health IT status, analyze the costs of an interoperable system, find funding and study telemedicine.

The group is expected to submit a preliminary report by July 1 and a final one by Sept. 1. The state has not named other members of the task force.

“The current system for sharing vital health care information is badly outdated, expensive and is a disservice to patients in need of care,” Blunt said in a written statement. “I look forward to hearing this task force’s deliberations on this issue and to the recommendations to help move the delivery of health care in Missouri into the 21st century.”

In his recent State of the State speech, Blunt also proposed $25 million for a Healthcare Technology Trust Fund.

“This funding will involve multiyear projects that will explore new and innovative ways that technology can improve the delivery of care, reduce administrative burdens and eliminate waste and fraud,” he said in his speech. “Programs funded with this money will emphasize personal responsibility and health literacy and create a structure to help Missourians make informed health care decisions. The overarching goal is to improve the health status of all Missourians.”

Many states, including Michigan and New Hampshire, are planning to use more IT to improve their health care infrastructures.

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