For those of you who know me, it will come as no shock to hear me say that I am not skilled in matters that pertain to computers or technology. In fact, some would say that I am totally lacking in these skill sets. I do, however, understand the power and usefulness of technology and am inspired to learn and work on policy issues that attempt to take advantage of technology to better our community and nation.
A few weeks ago Ron Levy, Director of the Missouri Department of Social Services, asked me to provide leadership to an effort to determine how the state, working with other interested partners, can use technology to improve health access and health outcomes for all Missourians at an affordable cost. Director Levy has assembled over 200 people with various backgrounds/expertise from all over the state to provide leadership for this important assignment. Various committees have been established and much progress has been made. I am particularly proud that Missouri is one of the few states that are including consumers as an equal partner in this important process.
A web site has been established so everyone can follow our progress. All Missourians are invited to comment and give us direct feedback as we develop a statewide strategic plan. I invite you to visit this web site http://www.dss.mo.gov/hie often. For those of us who live in Kansas City, we know how important it is that health providers in Missouri and Kansas are able to share patient health information with each other across the state line because many of us have health providers in both states.
The federal government is offering monetary incentives to states and health providers to improve our health information technology. This reform is long overdue! As we continue on this journey of reforming our health information technology we should be asking ourselves one basic question: What is in the best interest of all consumers – either insured or uninsured. By keeping our focus on this question we will find acceptable solutions.