Press Release

Statement on President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology Health IT Report


Rich Umbdenstock
President and CEO
American Hospital Association

December 8, 2010

Hospitals share the council's goal to move toward a health information system that supports the best possible care and informs and engages patients.  A robust health information infrastructure will support patients and providers to improve health in America.

The true test of any health information technology is whether it improves care at the bedside.   Hospitals have accelerated deployment of EHRs, but need a flexible regulatory structure to both support the clinical needs of their communities and address federal health priorities. 

We support an environment where health information follows the patient so that the right information is available to the right caregiver at the right time to support the best possible care.  We remain concerned, however, that there are no uniform, national mechanisms in place today to accurately match patients to their records across sites of care.  That needs to happen to ensure clinical decisions based on shared records are safe and appropriate. 

Today's report lays out a substantially different technology approach that will require further study and review.  In moving forward with greater health information exchange, we must balance the availability of health information to support care with appropriate safeguards on this inherently sensitive information.  We look forward to working on these critical issues with the administration so that hospitals can continue to harness health information technology to improve the safety, quality, and efficiency of patient care.

About the AHA

The AHA is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the health improvement of their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which include nearly 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks, other providers of care and 43,000 individual members. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends. For more information, visit the AHA website at www.aha.org.

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