Sen. Bill Frist Says Government Should Focus on National Standards for Health Care Information Technology Systems
The federal government should focus on the development of national standards for health care information technology systems because the promotion of "interoperability" would encourage health care providers to implement such systems more than federal grants or other incentives, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) said last week in a speech to America's Health Insurance Plans, CQ HealthBeat reports.
"We need to act first" to make health care IT systems interoperable "before giving ... a $50,000 grant or linking it to payment," Frist said. He said that the federal government could establish some "reserve funds to sort of send the right signal" but added that "that's not the fundamental problem. It's not a matter of money." According to Frist, after national standards for health care IT systems are developed, "you're going to have more people coming under this industry."
He added, "You're going to see capital flow into it. The need is so huge. It saves lives. The money is waiting to flow in here. It doesn't have to be taxpayers' dollars." Frist said that in the past "too many doctors have been burned ... (by) $30,000 off-the-shelf" health care IT systems that were discarded because they failed to provide adequate services (CQ HealthBeat, 3/11).