By making some reasonable concessions but standing firm against industry pressure to gut the regulations, the Administration moved to improve patient safety and coordination of care, and to make our health system more efficient. Providers who take federal aid will now, appropriately, be required to use IT in ways that improve outcomes for patients and support the caregivers who now struggle to coordinate care in our fragmented system.
An end is finally in sight for the days when doctors have to sift through incomplete and incomprehensible hand-written medical records — when patients must tote test results from doctor to doctor — and when family caregivers spend endless time trying to coordinate medications and treatments for those who can’t do so for themselves.
These new regulations will mean that those health providers who take federal health IT dollars will be accountable for improving care, and that we can all benefit as private and secure electronic health records become the norm in the United States.
As we move forward, the regulations should be strengthened so providers who violate privacy laws are ineligible for federal IT dollars, and so providers are required to give all patients timely access to their health information as well as to the kind of education resources that help improve their outcomes.
Those who criticized the proposed regulations should now join us in ensuring that their implementation goes smoothly. Today’s action helps put in place the foundation America needs to build a health care system that works for patients and families, and gives us all high quality, affordable, coordinated care."
The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at www.NationalPartnership.org.