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HB 247

January 24, 2008
by Travis Gathright
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HB 247 isn’t an obscure segment of the HL7 Standard or the product number of a new gizmo from Cisco. HB 247 refers to “House Bill” 247, a bill in front of the Virginia State Legislature related to medical records sharing. On Monday, I attended a state-level advocacy day. The event was organized by the Virginia Chapter for the Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS). HIMSS has lots of advocacy resources. I felt it was important I get out of my office to try to influence the HIT-related laws in front of the legislature in my state. These laws have the potential to set IT priorities around the state and that includes my IT Strategic Plan.

We are used to external forces setting priorities in healthcare IT. At any given time, IT has a project underway that enables the organization to react to a change made by a payer, allows the organization to meet a new standard set by an accreditation body, protects the organization against a disaster event, or helps the organization win an award. Legislation will increasingly be an external force with a direct relationship to internal IT priorities as IT increasingly gets attention as way to improve a healthcare system in crisis. Like all of us, legislators are looking for answers.

I can tell you that Legislators ask the same questions we all ask when we become initiated to the status of information technology in healthcare, “How can IT be used better to make patients safer, improve quality, improve access to care, make healthcare more convenient, and reduce administrative overhead?” As IT leaders, we are the best ones to answer these questions for our legislators, and the legislature could certainly help us speed adoption.

It was an honor to meet these men and women of the legislature and I believe my time on Monday was well spent. In this time of change in our healthcare system, advocacy will be an important area of focus for forward-thinking IT Leaders.

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