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SHIS Sponsors Health Information Technology Summit
Federal and state health care officials are coming to Houston April 15 - 16, to discuss an initiative to build a National Health Information Network, which could go a long way toward improving the quality of patient care and ultimately reducing health care costs.
"Health care is one of the last sectors of the economy yet to embrace the information technology revolution, including electronic medical records," Texas Governor Rick Perry said. "Electronic records are critical to reducing medical errors and stopping health care fraud."
The University of Texas School of Health Information Sciences at Houston (SHIS) is organizing the program at the George R. Brown Convention Center, titled "The National Health Information Technology Summit: A Washington/Texas Dialogue." The meeting is open to the public.
Scheduled speakers include: Robert Kolodner, M.D., National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, a position at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services created by President George W. Bush to coordinate the nation's health information technology efforts, and Les Lenert, M.D., director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Public Health Informatics.
"The purpose is to stimulate dialogue and to turn that dialogue into action," said SHIS Dean Jack W. Smith, M.D., Ph.D. "What's unique about the conference is that participants will have a chance to provide input. This is the first such conference in the country and it could be a model for other states."
The National Health Information Network is being designed to connect caregivers, consumers and others involved in supporting health and health care. One goal is to enable health information to follow the consumer and be available for clinical decision-making in multiple settings.
"If we get it right, health information technology can help us address many of the key challenges in health care today," Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt said. "It can lead to fewer medical mistakes, lower health care costs, more convenience, and better health. It can also help us better track epidemics and outbreaks as well as improve our bio surveillance and emergency preparedness."
In Texas, lawmakers have created the Texas Health Services Authority, a non-profit, public-private collaborative to foster regional collaboration and have directed state agencies to develop a system for sharing client data.
"Your date of birth doesn't change, but when you go to a doctor you're asked to repeat it over and over," said Kim Dunn, M.D., Ph.D., SHIS assistant professor and a practicing internist. "With interoperable electronic medical records, different doctors would be able to access your medical history."
Such access may reduce the number of adverse drug interactions. For example, some 530,000 adverse drug events take place annually among Medicare beneficiaries because of drugs negatively interacting with other drugs the patient is already taking, or insufficient information about the patient and their medications, according to published reports cited in a Department of Health and Human Services news release.
Online registration is available on the Web at www.nhit-shis.org.
By Rob Cahill, Institutional Advancement
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