Forecast 2008: States seek health IT prognosis

States want to use information technology to improve the quality of health care services and reduce health care costs in response to President Bush's 2004 mandate for an improved national health care system.

To tap that market, companies can try to engage in public/private partnerships that get them in on the ground floor with state and local government customers, according to advice from market researchers. That's important to do now because it puts firms in a good position to tap into larger health IT opportunities that are expected to unfold from 2009 to 2011.

States on the leading edge of health IT are pushing ahead with their own funds or taking advantage of federal seed money available through Medicaid Transformation Grants.

However, health IT opportunities are more complex than some because they come with political and cultural issues.

Data sharing and health information exchanges, privacy and security, telemedicine, mandated coverage for pre-existing conditions, and universal health insurance are among the top technology-related health care initiatives in the upcoming year.

Another key opportunity in the year ahead is to continue helping states build regional exchanges that coordinate health information across multiple jurisdictions.

About the Author

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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