Promoting health information technology (IT) has been a common thread in the campaigns of the 2008 presidential candidates’ health reform proposals. It is proposed as a means of achieving efficiency, improving quality and cutting costs in the delivery of health care. In addition, there is bipartisan support in both houses of Congress for expanding health IT. Yet, one bill that would do so remains stalled in the House, another in the Senate.
Why do Americans trust IT when they do their banking, make airline reservations, pay their bills, and file their tax returns, but not to access their medical information electronically? Some believe that technology poses a serious threat to Americans’ medical privacy rights; such people would add strict privacy protections to any health IT legislation. Others assert that the privacy risks are inconsequential, and that all health care providers should use electronic health records and participate in health information exchange networks.
What’s the best way to balance the move to electronic health records and other health IT applications, with its acknowledged increase in efficiency, against the need to protect the privacy of individuals’ medical histories? What incentives and regulatory requirements might be needed for more providers to implement electronic medical record keeping? To respond to consumers’ privacy concerns? Can the market alone deliver adequate privacy protections? Is there enough common ground among stakeholders to allow a consensus proposal to advance?
To address these and related questions, the Alliance for Health Reform and the Divided We Fail Initiative are sponsoring a Feb. 29 luncheon briefing. Panelists will be: Jodi Daniel, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology; Deborah Peel, Coalition for Patient Privacy; and John Rother, AARP. Ed Howard of the Alliance will moderate.
Full Transcript (Adobe Acrobat PDF)
Speaker Biographies (Adobe Acrobat PDF)