U.S. System of Health Care Information Technology Must Improve, Gingrich Says
Efforts to improve the U.S. health care information technology system must happen more quickly than anticipated, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) said Wednesday at a hearing of the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and the Census, CongressDaily reports. Gingrich said that the United States must establish "a virtual public health service" that electronically links all health facilities in the nation. "Paper kills. Paper prescriptions kill. Paper records kill. And if there's a public health emergency, paper will kill a lot of people," he said. According to Gingrich, the federal government should establish standards to allow computer systems at different health care facilities to communicate with each other and should use 1% of health care expenditures to improve the IT system. "If you did that, within three to four years you'd be in a different world," with fewer medical errors and improved data for medical research at a reduced cost, Gingrich said. David Powner of the Government Accountability Office, said, "The federal government is taking a leadership role in setting a national strategy and implementing standards," but the effort "remains a work in progress" (Rovner, CongressDaily, 7/15).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.