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November and Beyond

September 25, 2008
by Kate Huvane, Mark Hagland, and David Raths
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CIOs have a large role to play in the development of healthcare IT policy

Bill Stead, M.D., associate vice chancellor for strategy/transformation and CIO, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Bill Stead, M.D., associate vice chancellor for strategy/transformation and CIO, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Tremendous attention is being paid to the November elections. In addition to a historic presidential election, the balance of power between the political parties in Congress is hanging in the balance. What's more, the results of elections in 50 states could determine how and to what extent healthcare IT legislation will evolve.

Regardless of the specific outcomes, one thing is clear: healthcare in general, and healthcare IT in particular, will be the focus of intense interest on the part of policymakers. CIOs and other healthcare IT executives are becoming involved in the process to ensure any changes make sense in the venues where healthcare is actually delivered. Industry observers say healthcare IT executive involvement in the policymaking process is more important than ever. And those executives already involved are passionate about their involvement and the potential for intelligent change.

This special report is organized into three sections. In the first, we meet CIOs and other healthcare IT executives who are already involved in the policymaking process, discovering what lessons are already being learned, and how they view the process from the inside. In the second, we look at the landscape in Congress and the potential for federal change following the November elections on Capitol Hill (and potentially in the White House). And in the third, we examine the most innovative and aggressive advances already taking place in state legislatures around the country, and learn what's top of mind among the most active state legislators.

The bottom line? Change is bound to occur, quite likely sooner rather than later. And those already involved believe that healthcare IT executives must be engaged in order to ensure that the right kind of change takes place. — M.H.

Healthcare Informatics 2008 October;25(10):40-41

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