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February 2008

Presentations Now Available from State Health Research and Policy Interest Group Policy Breakfast

On February 5, 2008, the State Health Research and Policy Interest Group held its third annual Policy Breakfast in conjunction with AcademyHealth’s National Health Policy Conference. The program, designed for individuals working on or interested in state-level health policy and research, focused on the role of states in developing and implementing health information technology (HIT).

Vernon K. Smith, principal at Health Management Associates, began the session by presenting overall findings from a new survey of states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories to better understand the e-health landscape within state governments. The survey was designed to capture state HIT and electronic health information exchange (HIE) activities, challenges that states face in pursuit of these activities, emerging best practices and benefits, current directions, and future goals. Forty-one states and the District of Columbia responded to the survey.

Following the overarching view of state activities, Lori M. Evans, deputy commissioner of the Office of Health Information Technology Transformation
in the New York State Department of Health, presented some background on New York’s HIT strategy and five major policy implications of that strategy. Those implications include:

  • HIT must serve as an underpinning to many other transformative programs and policies with respect to quality, safety, efficiency, affordability and outcomes;
  • HIT building blocks are fundamentally the same regardless of transformative goal and must streamline and coordinate;
  • Major HIT building blocks – organizational, clinical/quality, technical – must co-evolve and advance together in order to realize value;
  • Clinical, quality and public health priorities must drive HIT adoption and common actions among public and private health care sectors; and
  • With respect to the technical building blocks, “cross-sectional interoperability” is necessary to drive policy alignment and value realization for clinicians as well as sustainable transformation.

Finally, Gina Perez, executive director of the Delaware Health Information Network (DHIN), presented information about Delaware’s efforts with health information technology. The vision of the DHIN is to “develop a network to exchange real-time clinical information among all health care providers (office practices, hospitals, labs and diagnostic facilities, etc.) across the state to improve patient outcomes and patient-provider relationships, while reducing service duplication and the rate of increase in health care spending." Her presentation included lessons learned related to governance, planning and implementation, and sustainability.