How state CIOs can help with health IT

NASCIO urges greater state involvement

State Chief Information Officers ought to move quickly to assert a key role in deploying health information technology under the economic stimulus law in their states, according to a new report from the National Association of State Chief Information Officers.

“State CIOs must establish themselves as critical stakeholders now, so that they may help craft the policies that will affect their offices,” states the NASCIO report, dated August 2009.

The stimulus law "essentially merged health policy with technology policy across state government and state CIOs must play a key role in health information exchange development and implementation,” NASCIO said in the 14-page report.

Under the law, Congress approved up to $45 billion in Medicare and Medicaid incentives to doctors and hospitals who buy and meaningfully use certified Electronic Health Records systems. Another $2 billion is being distributed to foster health information exchanges, in which providers share patient data with government agencies and with each other. The Commerce and Agriculture departments are providing grants for broadband services, which may be a component of health IT deployment, especially in rural areas. The Health and Human Services Department is now trying to assess the status of such exchanges around the country.

HHS on Aug. 20 announced the availability of $564 million in grants to state governments to promote health information exchanges.

State CIOs should get involved in several broad areas, NASCIO recommends in its report:

  • Preparing an environmental scan of existing health-related legacy systems in state agencies and across the state.
  • Linking up with federal, state and local health IT stakeholders.
  • Plugging into existing health IT data exchange opportunities if they are available.

NASCIO recommends that CIOs prepare to be flexible and “wear multiple hats” to improve their state’s readiness to meet health IT goals including convening state agencies, providing leadership, engaging in risk management, and determining which existing health IT systems may require remediation.

The NASCIO report, titled “HITECH in the States: An Action List for State CIOs,” was released on its Web site Aug. 18. HITECH (Health IT for Economic and Clinical Health Act) is the section of the economic stimulus law that contains health IT provisions.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.


  • Social network, census

    5 predictions for federal IT in 2017

    As the Trump team takes control, here's what the tech community can expect.

  • Rep. Gerald Connolly

    Connolly warns on workforce changes

    The ranking member of the House Oversight Committee's Government Operations panel warns that Congress will look to legislate changes to the federal workforce.

  • President Donald J. Trump delivers his inaugural address

    How will Trump lead on tech?

    The businessman turned reality star turned U.S. president clearly has mastered Twitter, but what will his administration mean for broader technology issues?

  • moving ahead

    The bid to establish a single login for accessing government services is moving again on the last full day of the Obama presidency.

  • Shutterstock image (by Jirsak): customer care, relationship management, and leadership concept.

    Obama wraps up security clearance reforms

    In a last-minute executive order, President Obama institutes structural reforms to the security clearance process designed to create a more unified system across government agencies.

  • Shutterstock image: breached lock.

    What cyber can learn from counterterrorism

    The U.S. has to look at its experience in developing post-9/11 counterterrorism policies to inform efforts to formalize cybersecurity policies, says a senior official.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group