On Thursday, federal lawmakers said policy changes are necessary to spur wider adoption of electronic health record systems, Modern Healthcare reports.
The lawmakers spoke during an event in Washington D.C., marking National Health IT Week.
During the event, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) called for the federal government to expand the meaningful use program to include mental health care providers, nursing homes and other categories of providers. Under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR systems can qualify for Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments.
Lawmakers also called for health IT organizations to promote EHR adoption by providing physicians with information about how the technology can benefit their practices and patients.
Following the event, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said he plans to introduce legislation to resolve conflicts between varying state health data privacy laws and federal efforts to encourage health information exchange. Blumenthal said, "I do think that there is a role that the federal government has to play to establish standards that states would have to meet" (Daly, Modern Healthcare, 9/13).