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States Share Experiences with Health Information Technology

Through the newly established State Alliance for e-Health, officials from many states are beginning to share ideas, discuss challenges, and spread best practices in implementing electronic health information exchange within and across states. The alliance will address issues related to electronic health records (EHRs), e-prescribing, information exchanges, and electronic credentialing for health care providers. As of May 2007, representatives including governors, elected officials, attorneys general, and insurance commissioners from 14 states as well as experts from the public and private sectors are participating.

The State Alliance is intended "to be a forum for states to collectively address challenges of health information exchange, and move the agenda forward," according to NGA's Michelle Lim Warner.

The State Alliance was established by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices through a contract from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. The three main focus areas for this year are privacy and security, licensure of health professionals, and the role of publicly funded programs (Medicaid, SCHIP, and state employee programs) in HIT. The State Alliance will address barriers to use of health IT, develop standards for state policy and regulations, encourage partnerships among states and with private entities, and seek expert input to inform state efforts.

"The [State Alliance] is designed for states to share information and identify opportunities of collaboration, especially in areas that need consistency across state boundaries," according to Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger, an alliance member. "We can identify ways to have more of a national system, with reform occurring from the bottom up rather than imposed from the top down."

Under co-chairmen Governor Phil Bredesen of Tennessee and Governor Jim Douglas of Vermont, the Alliance has created three task forces for its initial year: Health Information Protection Taskforce, the Health Care Practice Taskforce, and the Health Information Communication and Data Exchange Taskforce. Task forces will meet monthly, and the entire State Alliance will meet quarterly. At its August 2007 meeting, the task forces will present preliminary recommendations.

The State Alliance builds on other multi-state collaborations to promote HIT. For example, under the Privacy and Security Project, a 19-month, $17 million effort, 34 states and U.S. territories are working with a team to identify business practices in their states that affect electronic health information exchanges, collaborate through regional and national meetings to propose solutions and develop implementation plans, and present project outcomes and recommendations.

For More Information
Contact: Michelle Lim Warner, Senior Policy Analyst, National Governors Association, [email protected], 202 624-5300.

See: NGA Web site

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