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July 09, 2010

eHealth Report: HIT Coordination and Provider Education Still Needed


The eHealth Initative, an independent non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality, safety and efficiency of healthcare through information technology, released its 'National Progress Report on eHealth' at the beginning of July. This report includes a review of 3 years of healthcare IT activity in the U.S., with a particular focus on health IT and eHealth accomplishments related to the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) which included over $30 billion in federal funding for healthcare IT through the HITECH Act.

On the plus side, the experts surveyed for the report agree that AARA has succeeded in focusing attention on HIT implementation and enabling initiatives such as Health Information Exchanges (HIE) at the state level.

However, even the experts responded that the full value of HIE programs is not well understood and the majority of respondents believe that current outreach to consumers to explain the importance of electronic health records and overall healthcare technology initiatives is not effective.   One conclusion of the report is that it will be vital to educate healthcare providers about best practices for adoption and meaningful use of HIT and eHealth to achieve the goals of the HITECH Act.

Summing up the report, Jennifer Covich Bordenick, eHealth Initiative's Chief Executive Officer noted that 'Coordinating public and private sector efforts, and communicating the true value of HIT and HIE to consumers will be critical as we move forward.

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