As members of Congress weigh legislation to create a nationwide system of electronic health records, states are poised to act quickly through coordinated efforts with healthcare providers, industry, and the federal government, according to a report released today by the State Alliance for E-Health, a panel created by the National Governors Association.
Most urgently, states should encourage electronic prescribing and protect patient privacy, the authors said.
The report said adoption of e-prescribing has been slow, even though the necessary infrastructure and standards exist. Congress helped by approving a veto-proof Medicare reimbursement bill in July that included incentives for physicians who use e-prescribing starting in 2009. In addition, privacy and security measures are important because public trust can make or break an e-health effort, the report said, noting that states must ensure consistent policies to protect data and secure exchange.