State health IT, privacy legislation on the rise: report

State legislators introduced more than 370 bills to boost healthcare information technology over an 18-month period in 2007 and 2008, with more than a third passing, according to a report released by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The volume of IT legislation introduced was three times higher than in a similar period from 2005 to 2006, the NCSL reported.

Meanwhile, six states passed what the NCSL described as “comprehensive measures aimed at protecting patient privacy while facilitating the exchange of health data.” In a news release accompanying the 54-page report, state Sen. Richard Moore, a Massachusetts Democrat and vice president of the organization, called the wave of bills “a healthcare IT revolution.” Federal and state governments “are moving toward a seamless, integrated system of information sharing ranging from patient medical records to insurance claims to filling a patient’s drug prescription,” said Moore, who serves as chairman of the Massachusetts Senate Health Care Financing Committee.

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