President Bush Promotes Proposal To Establish National Electronic Medical Records System
President Bush on Monday at a meeting of the American Association of Community Colleges in Minnesota promoted a proposal to establish a nationwide electronic medical records system over the next 10 years and create a national health information technology office within HHS to lead the effort, the Wall Street Journal reports. The office of the national health information technology coordinator, expected to begin operations within three months as part of the HHS Office of the Secretary, will coordinate and evaluate current and future department IT efforts and establish technical standards to allow physicians and hospitals to share electronic medical records and ensure patient privacy, according to an unnamed senior HHS official (Wall Street Journal, 4/27). Bush said that the proposal would "go a long way toward introducing IT into a part of medicine that desperately needs it." According to Bush, the current paper medical records system has led to a reduced quality of care and a number of medical errors (Chen, Los Angeles Times, 4/27). In addition, Bush said that he plans to increase funds for related IT pilot programs (Schmickle/Smetanka, Minneapolis Star Tribune, 4/27). Bush proposed to double to $100 million the annual grants currently awarded for such programs (St. Petersburg Times, 4/27).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.