PCAST Introduces New Report For Health IT Recommendations.

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healthcare IT newsThe President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) has introduced a new report giving detailed recommendations to the President and Federal agencies about how to make the most out of information technology to increase healthcare quality and at the same time reduce costs.

Released at an event featuring Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and National Economic Council director Lawrence Summers, the report, Realizing the Full Potential of Health Information Technology to Improve Healthcare for Americans: The Path Forward, notes that healthcare could benefit enormously from greater use of information technology (IT). Yet it is one of the few economic sectors in the Nation that has largely failed to tap into the power of IT.

Reflecting input from industry and IT experts, privacy groups, healthcare professionals, and others, the report recommends the Federal government to facilitate the widespread adoption of a “universal exchange language” that would enable the transfer of  health information while maintaining privacy. Such a system would allow people’s health data to follow them wherever they go, and help physicians provide the best possible level of care, while giving patients unprecedented control over who has access to their information. Moreover, it can save the Nation money by increasing efficiency and reducing redundancy.

It is to be noted that, achieving PCAST’s recommendations would not require physicians to replace their existing electronic health records (EHR) systems, virtually all of which could be made compatible through “apps” and other “middleware.” Furthermore, they do not call for creation of a centralized Federal database of people’s health information or the developing of Federal healthcare identifier numbers to individuals.

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