House committee approves healthcare IT bill

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A House committee this week approved legislation that would hasten the adoption of healthcare information technology by healthcare providers.

The Health Information Technology Promotion Act of 2006 would codify the Bush administration's national coordinator office for health IT, create statutory safe harbors to allow providers to offer physicians health IT software and hardware, and require the Department of Health and Human Services to develop a health IT strategic plan.

The committee approved the bill by an 8-5 vote. Democrats disapproved of certain aspects of the bill, including its lack of a deadline for adoption of health IT. They also criticized its lack of patient privacy protections. Subcommittee Chairwoman Nancy L. Johnson (R-CT) and House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Chairman Nathan Deal (R-GA) introduced the measure.