HELP Leaders Create EHR Working Group

"The goal of this working group is to identify the five or six things we can do to help make the failed promise of electronic health records something that physicians and providers look forward to, instead of something they endure," said Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.

The top Republican and top Democrat on the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP), Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and ranking member Patty Murray, D-Wash., announced April 29 that they have established a full committee working group to identify ways to improve electronic health records, known as EHRs. "After $28 billion in taxpayer dollars spent subsidizing electronic health records, ‎doctors don't like these electronic medical record systems and say they disrupt workflow, interrupt the doctor-patient relationship, and haven't been worth the effort," Alexander said. "The goal of this working group is to identify the five or six things we can do to help make the failed promise of electronic health records something that physicians and providers look forward to, instead of something they endure."

The working group's goals are to help in identifying ways Congress and the administration can work together to:

  • help doctors and hospitals improve their quality of care and patient safety
  • facilitate information exchange between EHR vendors and health professionals, referred to as "interoperability"
  • empower patients to engage in their own care through convenient, user-friendly access to their personal health information
  • leverage health information technology capabilities to improve patient safety
  • protect patient privacy and the security of patients' health information

"As we focus on making our health care system work better for families, electronic health records could not be more important," Murray said. "Having more and better information can make all the difference for patients, so I look forward to working with Chairman Alexander and members of our committee to strengthen our nation's health IT infrastructure and improve quality of care and patient safety in Washington state and across the country."

They have invited all members of the committee to participate.

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