|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 14, 2009
Experts Cite Health Information Technology as Key Investment for Economic Stimulus
New York City - January 14, 2009 - Alan D. Aviles, President of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation and Ken Thorpe, Executive Director of the national Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD), spoke to reporters today about the potential inclusion of health information technology (HIT) in the economic stimulus package. President-elect Barack Obama has indicated his desire to make the immediate investments necessary to ensure America's medical records are computerized within five years.
"There's no question that our country needs a short-term remedy to this economic crisis, and that health care should be included in this solution," said Thorpe. "With a growing population of chronically ill Americans, many of whom see numerous providers, health information technology provides a sound economic approach to better managing and reducing the costs of treating this group and while facilitating better coordination of care. We commend President-elect Obama for urging investment in an area that will serve as a critical backbone of a 21st century health care system."
Aviles spoke on behalf of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), a safety net health system which has invested in advanced, integrated health technology throughout its facilities, establishing itself as an innovator in this area. Aviles talked about technology used at HHC facilities to manage chronic diseases. He also spoke about the economic crisis and the impact on safety net hospitals, stating: "It is critical that Congress consider direct relief for safety net hospitals in the economic stimulus plan in order to ensure that the uninsured and under-insured can access the care they need during the crisis."
HHC is a member of the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems (NAPH), a PFCD partner.
As stated in the PFCD's Policy Platform, health information technology:
- Provides easy access to comprehensive patient records electronically, thus making it easier to see a patient's medical history;
- Helps providers track patient care in order to reduce duplication of services, address patient issues, and coordinate care with care managers;
- Offers providers access to reference materials during a patient visit;
- Provides clinicians real-time guidance on standards of care; and
- Sends reminders and prompts to patients about visits, tests, and recommendations and prescription
The health system is not yet routinely using HIT to improve Americans' care quality. Only one in five (20 percent) of U.S. patients has computerized health records.