Health IT gets a mention in State of the Union

President Bush continued his support of health information technology in his State of the Union address Tuesday night, devoting one sentence of the speech to the initiative.

“We will make wider use of electronic records and other health information technology, to help control costs and reduce dangerous medical errors,” the president said.

In a speech devoted largely to the war in Iraq and other international concerns, it was an indication that health IT retains its place on the administration’s domestic agenda.

At the same time, Bush offered no new proposals nor new backing for earlier proposals. The speech’s few sentences that addressed health care had the tone of re-runs. For example, the president declared that “our government has a responsibility to provide health care for the poor and the elderly, and we are meeting that responsibility.”

The Democratic rebuttal by newly elected Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine did not mention health IT. “Health care reforms have to focus on making the system serve consumers better,” Kaine said.

A year earlier, Bush also devoted a sentence to health IT in reviewing the state of the union. "By computerizing health records, we can avoid dangerous medical mistakes, reduce costs, and improve care," he said.

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