Governors push alliance for e-health

The nation's governors, in an indication of the important and growing role of IT in health care, have thrown their weight behind a sweeping new initiative intended to make e-health records part of everyday life.

The National Governors Association and the Health and Human Services Department's Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT announced last week they were rolling out the State Alliance for e-Health initiative.

The initiative allows governors, elected officials and other policymakers to work together in seeking interstate- and intrastate-based health IT policies and practices. The alliance also gives state officials the opportunity to discuss solutions to programmatic and legal challenges surrounding the exchange of health information.

The NGA plans to involve other associations that represent state interests in the development, establishment and management of the alliance.

The alliance will be a consensus-based, state-level advisory and coordinating body. Through the group, states will be able to identify, assess and map ways to resolve state-level issues, such as the interoperability of electronic health information exchanges.

States will work through the alliance to improve collaboration and boost the efficiency and effectiveness of health IT, the NGA said. The alliance also will give states a chance to resolve privacy and security issues on the use and disclosure of electronic health information.

Through the alliance, officials will get a chance to learn from and leverage national efforts and resources in building an interoperable health information exchange.

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