On June 3, 2010, Health and Human Services' Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced funding for three Illinois entities to expand the use of health information technology. The funds are part of the $2 billion allotted to HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Illinois entities have received a total of $14,222,596 in funds through HRSA grants since last year.
In February, Governor Quinn signed Executive Order 2010-1 creating the Office of Health Information Technology that launched the development of a statewide Health Information Exchange. For the full press release: www.illinois.gov/PressReleases/ShowPressRelease.cfm
The use of health information technology allows health care providers to more easily share and access a patients health information. Through the use of shared information the hope is that we will see:
- Improve health care quality and outcomes
- Improve patient safety
- Reduce health disparities
- Reduce medical errors and duplicative services
- Enhance coordination of patient care among providers
- Reduce or eliminate paper
- Control the cost of health care
- Enhance public health and disease surveillance
- Promote greater efficiency
From the perspective of an employer, the possible result of shared health information technology is all positive. Enabling a treating provider the opportunity to see if an injury is pre-existing is obvious, but access to the history and objective diagnostics that have been performed in the past is key. The reduction in duplicative diagnostics and the efficient delivery of all records should result in savings for all.
In the effort to reduce Illinois workers comp rates, the benefits of the expansion of Health Information Technology are promising.