Bush highlights IT health architecture, U.S. Visit in State of Union

President Bush last night gave a nod to two federal IT initiatives in his fifth State of the Union address: the federal health IT architecture and the government's entry-exit system.

In his speech to Congress, Bush made two brief mentions of these programs as part of his broad-reaching domestic agenda.

Bush said his comprehensive health care plan includes "improved IT to prevent medical errors and needless costs."

The federal health architecture initiative became one of the Office of Management and Budget's Lines of Business consolidation projects in 2003 with the Health and Human Services Department taking the lead. The Consolidated Health Informatics Quicksilver project team so far has adopted 11 sets of messaging and terminology standards.

To give the project higher profile, Bush named David Brailer as national health IT coordinator in May of last year. Most recently, Brailer's team at HHS began reviewing responses to a request for information on how to build a medical Internet by 2007.

Although Bush did not directly mention the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology System by name, he did ask Congress to look at the "outdated" immigration system and said it was time for an immigration policy that "tells us who is entering and leaving the country."

The Homeland Security Department has rolled out U.S. Visit, its virtual border system, to the 50 busiest land crossings and plans to deploy the system to 115 additional land ports this year.

The administration's emphasis on both these projects makes them likely winners when the president sends his fiscal 2006 budget proposal to Congress Monday.

Last night, Bush said the budget would hold "discretionary spending below inflation," and substantially reduce or eliminate more than 150 programs that "are not getting results or are duplicative of current efforts or do not fulfill essential priorities."

"The principle is clear taxpayer money must be spent wisely or not at all," Bush said.

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