AMA Offers Solutions To Help Promote HIT Adoption

Providing solutions to help promote widespread adoption of health information technology (HIT) by physicians, the American Medical Association (AMA) testified to the Health Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Congress can help overcome current barriers to adoption and move the nation toward an interoperable, connected HIT system.

“If HIT systems are appropriately implemented and truly interoperable, widespread HIT adoption has the potential to transform the way physicians practice medicine,” said AMA Board Member Steven J. Stack, M.D. “The promise of HIT is that physicians will receive information in real-time that will lead to dramatic improvements in quality care. It will be like going from a horse-and-buggy to a bullet train: week-long delays for patient records and comprehensive medication information will become a relic of the past as real-time clinically relevant information will be at a physician’s fingertips while caring for patients.”

The AMA provided the following input to help shape legislation that addresses the technology and privacy concerns that many physicians currently harbor as they consider purchasing HIT.

– Strengthen the HIPAA Privacy Rule by holding all parties that have access to patient health information directly accountable for compliance with privacy standards.

– Increase physician representation and involvement in the Advisory Committee process that will develop technical standards, specifications for connectivity, implementation and interoperability, and criteria for certification.

“As we work to speed adoption of HIT, it’s important to recognize that physicians facing nearly a decade of steep Medicare payment cuts are hesitant to make expensive HIT purchases,” said Dr. Stack. “More than two-thirds of physicians tell the AMA they will be forced to defer HIT purchases if this year’s cut occurs in July as planned. It is imperative that Congress take action to replace 18 months of Medicare cuts with payment updates that better reflect increases in medical practice costs.”

“The AMA is eager to work with Congress to accelerate widespread adoption of HIT so that physicians can fully embrace new technologies that benefit patients,” said Dr. Stack.

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