June 13, 2008

Whitehouse Recognized for Health IT Leadership

Rhode Island Senator Wins 2008 HIMSS Advocacy Award

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), who has sponsored health IT legislation and pushed to expand the use of electronic prescribing, received the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS)’s 2008 Advocacy Award for Federal Leadership Wednesday evening. Established in 2003, the award is given annually to current and former government officials who have made a significant contribution to the healthcare information technology field that merits national recognition.

“A tsunami of health care cost is sweeping down on us, inevitably, as baby boomers age and costs increase. We must act now to avert a fiscal crisis,” said Whitehouse, who founded the Rhode Island Quality Institute, a leader in the state’s efforts to promote electronic prescribing and health information technology utilization. “Health information technology holds the key to a more efficient, more effective health care system in this country.”

In the Senate, Whitehouse has introduced the National Health Information Technology and Privacy Advancement Act of 2007 (S.1455), which would establish a private, non-profit corporation tasked with developing a national, interoperable, secure health IT system. He has also pushed the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to lift its prohibition against electronic prescribing of controlled substances, a significant barrier to widespread adoption of e-prescribing technology.

Also receiving 2008 HIMSS Advocacy Awards Wednesday were Dr. Rob Kolodner, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology; Congressman Phil Gingrey (R-GA); New Jersey Assembly member Herb Conaway, MD; and Georgia Commissioner of Community Health Rhonda Medows, MD.

The HIMSS Advocacy Award is the second Whitehouse has received this year for his leadership on health IT. In January, he was recognized by the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA), an organization dedicated to the application of informatics in healthcare. AMIA Leadership Awards are given for exceptional leadership and service to the association or for leadership in the field. Past recipients include former National Coordinator for Health IT David J. Brailer, Dr. Carolyn Clancy, Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), former Congresswoman Nancy L. Johnson (R-CT), Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael O. Leavitt, and Congressman David Wu (D-OR).


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