Commission: Financial incentives will spur IT growth

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A federal commission wants government, insurers and employers to begin offering financial incentives to encourage widespread adoption of electronic health records.

In a report issued this week, the Commission on Systematic Interoperability offers 14 steps for establishing a connected system of accessible records. Such a system will improve quality of care, patient safety and help to curb healthcare costs, according to the commission.
 
The commission, which was authorized by the 2003 Medicare law, said Congress should authorize the Department of Health and Human Services to develop a national standard for determining patient authentication and identity.
 
It also urges government to eliminate regulations that cause roadblocks to the implementation of interoperable EHRs. Such roadblocks include the physician self-referral law, known as the Stark law, and the federal antikickback law. (HHS earlier this month proposed revising the Stark law for the purposes of information technology.)
 
The report is available at http://endingthedocumentgame.gov/.
(Published 10-27-05)