Some ? not all ? state CIOs pitch in on health IT issues

While a number of state CIOs are active in crafting and monitoring health care information technology initiatives, some are not involved directly in such endeavors, according to a new report.

Hands-on involvement by state CIOs ranges from helping create policy and craft implementation strategies to developing technical standards and locating funds for initiatives, according to a new report from the National Association of State Chief Information Officers' Health IT Committee.

A number of high-profile state initiatives stem from President Bush's 2004 executive order that calls for the health records of most Americans to be kept electronically by 2014. The president issued another executive order two years later, calling for improvements in federal health care programs through the use of technology.

The pair of executive orders sparked initiatives in nearly every state surrounding health IT issues such as interoperability and transparency, as well as the privacy and security implications for electronic health records.

Eleven governors have issued executive orders over the past three years for various health IT initiatives, while 24 state legislatures have passed 36 bills that call for greater use of health IT, according to the report.

NASCIO described the study as a compendium that offers snapshots of each state's progress in making technology a pervasive part of health care information.

The compendium shows increasing interest by most states in using IT to improve patient care and reduce costs in state budgets, said Larry Biggio, co-chair of NASCIO's Health IT Committee and Wyoming CIO.

"I'm encouraged to see more states expand the role of IT to improve health care services," he said.

About the Author

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

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