Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) today issued the following statement regarding today’s announcement by the Obama Administration of a new rule guiding the “meaningful use” of health information technology (HIT):
“In last year’s Recovery Act, President Obama and this Congress made a historic investment in health information technology. This investment will save lives, improve quality of care, and reap significant savings by increasing efficiency. The rule unveiled today by Dr. David Blumenthal, our National HIT Coordinator, will ensure that federal HIT funds are both distributed broadly to providers nationwide, and spent wisely, rewarding those who work hard to integrate HIT. I thank those at ONC, CMS and HHS who worked so hard to get this important standard right.”
Whitehouse has been a national leader on the implementation of HIT. Last year he spearheaded the effort to create HIT regional extension centers to provide information and technical assistance to doctors who implement this new technology. He was also a lead advocate for the creation of the “Beacon Communities” program which was established as part of the Recovery Act’s overall $18 billion federal investment in HIT. This program will establish a series of fully operable HIT “communities” around the country – including one in Rhode Island – to serve as models for the rest of the nation.