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Today's Debate: Mandate electronic records by law?

The HealthIT Coalition, which includes groups representing workers, employers, and health care workers (but not hospitals, insurers or electronic medical record vendors) is pushing hard to mandate the use of information technology in all medical offices.

Hillary Clinton from Rolling StoneThe HealthIT Coalition, which includes groups representing workers, employers, and health care workers (but not hospitals, insurers or electronic medical record vendors) is pushing hard to mandate the use of information technology in all medical offices.

The group's bill has some interesting sponsors -- Republicans Orrin Hatch and Michael Enzi, Democrats Edward Kennedy and Hillary Clinton. The effort is spearheaded by former Sen. John Breaux of Louisiana and former Rep. Nancy Johnson of Connecticut.

Orrin HatchThe bill doesn't mandate a specific solution, but does offer some markers for reaching one:

  • Federal leadership in a process aimed at establishing standards for system interoperability,¬†product certification, and quality measures, plus an accelerated process for standards improvement;
  • Financial incentives to for adoption of Health IT and Health Information Exchanges;
  • Education tools to encourage patient cooperation; and
  • A process to resolve issues like privacy and professional licensing to create a secure and safe system.

I know there will be a lot of knee-jerk resistance to this. No system is 100% secure. No system offers 100% privacy. No system is beyond abuse.

But is this on the right track?

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