Bipartisan task force tackles health IT, healthcare reform

By Healthcare IT News
10:29 AM

The Bipartisan Policy Center’s Health Project has launched a Task Force on Delivery System Reform and Health IT. The Task Force, co-chaired by former Senate Majority Leaders Tom Daschle and Bill Frist, now co-leaders of the Health Project, includes 24 health system experts and leaders.

[See also: Former U.S. senators find common ground on health IT.]

“I’m pleased to lead this critical effort on the behalf of the Bipartisan Policy Center and proud of the Task Force we’ve assembled, which includes leaders from every sector of healthcare,” said Frist at the launch event in Washington, D.C. on June 2.

Later this year, the Task Force will release recommendations for aligning current health IT efforts to best utilize scarce public and private resources in support of new care delivery models that will improve the quality of care for all Americans.

“The Task Force will identify examples of organizations who have promoted accountable, patient-centered care,” continued Frist (pictured at right). “We will highlight opportunities for and challenges related to leveraging health IT to support these new models of care. The Task Force will recommend key actions that must be taken to lay the foundation for delivery system and payment reforms that promise to improve health and healthcare in this country.”

[See also: Mostashari predicts 'tough period ahead'.]

At the launch, the Initiative released a progress report, The Role of Health IT in Supporting Health Care Transformation: Building a Strong Foundation for America’s Health Care System, which outlines opportunities for leveraging health IT to support delivery system reforms. The report outlined several key recommendations to help accelerate progress on health IT implementation issues.

The report recommends improving coordination and alignment of health IT and reform efforts to identify opportunities for synergy and develop shared solutions for common needs; integrating lessons learned from early implementation efforts associated with large-scale programs to address unanticipated needs and issues; and enhancing strategies for engaging consumers in reform efforts through the use of health IT and emerging consumer technologies.

The BPC report also recommends increasing the focus and public-private sector collaboration on two areas critical to achieving improvements in health and health care delivery through IT by expanding implementation assistance and workforce training, particularly for small physical practices, small hospitals and clinics that support rural and underserved populations. Finally, the report recommends collaborating on the development and execution of a multi-faceted strategy for achieving thoughtfully designed, privacy-protected health information exchange in the United States.

“An important first step in the transformation of our health care system is the continued development and widespread use of health IT," said Daschle. "The report we are releasing today highlights the many efforts in the public and private sectors that are already underway, promising to generate creative solutions, instruments and incentives to drive the successful and widespread adoption of health IT. Our recommendations show that, if used wisely, health IT promises smarter, coordinated and more efficient health care. We have compiled a top-notch group of experts on our Task Force who will develop a careful plan, which we hope will build on existing efforts and capitalize on health IT’s great potential to improve quality and reduce costs.”

The BPC’s Health Project was launched in January 2011. In addition to Daschle and Frist, the Project is also led by former South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds and former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland.

The list of task force members is on the next page.