HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt Advocates Collaboration on Health Care Information Technology Standards
Federal, state and private-sector stakeholders should work together to encourage the adoption of a national health information technology system, HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt said Thursday, according to a report in Technology Daily. Speaking at the National Association of State Chief Information Officers' midyear meeting, Leavitt said, "We're going to collaborate in the development of standards, we're going to adopt them, and (we're going to) insist that everyone who does business with us adopts them in the same way."
He said the federal government would work to ensure that health care stakeholders adopt interoperable standards, but he added that "the standards setter has to be outside of government." According to Leavitt, implementing a uniform health care IT platform is an "economic imperative." He said, "We have seen health care costs triple as a percentage of all activity in the country. If health care begins to push out all other priorities, it becomes impossible to keep a balanced equation."
Leavitt said HHS requested $125 million from the federal government to fund a health care IT initiative in the fiscal year 2006. "There is a lot of enthusiasm in the Congress for this, and I'm confident that we'll be financed adequately for that undertaking," Leavitt said (Albanesius, Technology Daily, 5/6).