National Governors Association urges advancement of e-health

The National Governors Association (NGA) today urged states to accelerate adoption of health information technology (HIT) and health information exchange (HIE). To help states navigate the complexities of developing and using these electronic tools, the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) created in 2006 the State Alliance for e-Health. The State Alliance, which held its inaugural meeting in January 2007, is a consensus-based, executive-level body of state elected and appointed officials, formed to address the unique role states can play in facilitating adoption of interoperable electronic health information exchange.

To help states further adoption and use of HIT and electronic HIE, the State Alliance for e-Health outlines in this first annual report six recommendations for state action:

1. Provide leadership and support for e-health efforts in each state;

2. Address privacy and security;

3. Promote the use of standards-based, interoperable technology;

4. Streamline the licensure process to enable cross-state e-health;

5. Engage consumers to use HIT in managing their health and health care; and

6. Develop workforce capacity to support electronic HIE efforts.

This is the first annual report of the State Alliance for e-Health. It represents an aggregation of testimony, deliberations, research, and other activities undertaken by the State Alliance members to better understand the barriers to and options for facilitating electronic HIE and HIT adoption. The report outlines findings and recommendations from the first year of the State Alliance effort (January 2007 to February 2008). It is intended to spur continued innovation in states to make the vision of an interconnected, efficient, quality based health care system a reality for all Americans. (SOURCES: AHA News Now , www.ahanews.com , September 23, 2008; National Governors Association , http://nga.org, accessed September 25, 2008)