Health IT: Not Too Fast

I’ve come to think of the whole effort to create a national standard for the exchange of health care data as misguided at best, a looming patient privacy disaster at worst. Last year, the House of Representatives passed a bill (HR 4157) aimed at promoting a national health IT network, but it died in the Senate and has not been reintroduced in 2007 so far. States are showing an interest as well. In 2005 and 2006, 24 states passed 36 bills calling for Health IT use to improve health care, while 10 state governors passed executive orders to that effect, according to eHealth Initiatives’ Third Annual Survey of Health Information Exchange at the State, Regional and Community Levels. Meanwhile, the language on a statement of principles, with an eye toward model legislation, is working its way through the American Legislative Exchange Council, where I am a private sector member of the Telecom & IT Committee. Let’s start by saying that Information Technology, or IT, can encompass a lot. And one of the problems in attempting any sort of constructive dialogue is understanding the complexity of what’s at hand. And I freely admit I don’t have as keen a grasp on the subject as I should. But I daresay that few do.