The "life-saving, cost-reducing benefits" that health care information technology legislation "can deliver to the American public make its passage imperative this year" because next year a "new administration will take office and, in the shuffle, health IT legislation could stall, forcing Americans to wait even longer," John Engler, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers and a former Michigan governor, writes in an opinion piece in The Hill.

"Working Americans face soaring health care costs, and employers continue to struggle to provide health benefits," Engler writes, adding, "Health IT has the potential to save millions of dollars for working Americans." HHS estimates that widespread use of electronic health records would save about 100,000 lives annually through a decrease in medical errors and reduce health care spending by as much as 30%, and RAND estimates that widespread adoption of health care IT would reduce spending by $81 billion annually over the next 15 years, Engler writes.

According to Engler, "Congress must pass legislation that creates a public-private process to develop national standards for health IT; offer financial incentives to spur the adoption of health IT; launch a campaign to inform consumers and patients about health IT; and establish leadership on issues related to health IT privacy and security." Both the "House and the Senate have drafted health IT legislation that has bipartisan support," and lawmakers "need to formalize what everyone already agrees about and pass legislation now," as "Americans have waited long enough," Engler concludes (Engler, The Hill, 9/11).

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[Source: Medical News Today]