On Wednesday, Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) announced a bipartisan, full committee working group to identify ways to improve electronic health records (EHRs).
“After $28 billion in taxpayer dollars spent subsidizing electronic health records, doctors don’t like these electronic medical record systems and say they disrupt workflow, interrupt the doctor-patient relationship and haven’t been worth the effort,” said Alexander. “The goal of this working group is to identify the five or six things we can do to help make the failed promise of electronic health records something that physicians and providers look forward to instead of something they endure.”
“As we focus on making our health care system work better for families, electronic health records could not be more important,” said Murray. “Having more and better information can make all the difference for patients, so I look forward to working with Chairman Alexander and members of our Committee to strengthen our nation’s health IT infrastructure and improve quality of care and patient safety in Washington state and across the country.”
The goals of this Senate health committee working group are to help identify ways that Congress and the administration can work together to:
– help doctors and hospitals improve quality of care and patient safety;
– facilitate information exchange between different electronic record vendors and different health professionals, referred to as “interoperability”;
– empower patients to engage in their own healthcare through convenient, user-friendly access to their personal health information;
– leverage health information technology capabilities to improve patient safety; and
– protect patient privacy and security of health information.
Beginning this week, the bipartisan staff meetings will involve participation from health professionals, health information technology developers, relevant government agencies, and other experts specializing in health information technology. All members of the Senate health committee are invited to participate.