The House passed a sweeping health information technology (HIT) bill that includes a provision designed to boost the use of electronic clinical trial data.
But the measure came under swift attack by Democrats who charged that it would not improve technology adoption but would endanger the privacy of patient medical records.
The bill — H.R. 4157, the ‘Better Health Information System Act of 2006” — would establish the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology within HHS that would be responsible for a number of HIT-related policies. Among those policies is a dictate directing the national coordinator to promote the “efficient and streamlined development, submission, and maintenance of electronic healthcare clinical trial data.”
Under the legislation, the coordinator would be responsible for ensuring that other government agencies adopt policies that help to create a national interoperable health information system.
The legislation also requires the HHS secretary to issue within a year of the bill’s becoming law a report on the work conducted by the American Health Information Community. That report would include information on the progress toward:
* Establishing uniform industrywide health information technology standards;
* Achieving an internet-based nationwide health information network;
* Achieving interoperable electronic health record adoption across healthcare providers.
Even though the vote of the bill — which passed 270-148 — did not break along party lines, some House Democrats quickly issued statements dismissing the measure’s potential effectiveness.
Perhaps they’d be interesting in talking to Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov. They all seem to share the same Luddite view of technology. (See blog post “Da? Duh!,” August 7, 2006.)