Grassley asks hospitals about experiences with federal health information technology program

Wednesday, January 20, 2010, WASHINGTON --- Senator Chuck Grassley has sent letters to 31 hospitals nationwide asking about their experiences in implementing the $19 billion federal health information technology program launched last year.

"Given the taxpayer investment and the investment of the health care system overall in the information technology industry, the more Congress and others overseeing implementation of this program dig into the problems and work to get them sorted out now, the better," Grassley said. "Hospitals are on the front lines and their perspective will be very valuable in this effort, so I look forward to hearing what they have to say about expanded use of health care information technology."

Grassley said that his survey of hospitals is based on concerns brought to his attention in recent months, including administrative complications, formatting and usability issues, errors and interoperability. Some health care providers have told him that software is producing incorrect medication dosages because it miscalculated body weights by interchanging kilograms and pounds, for example. And, some of those providers have expressed frustration about the response, or lack of, they get when they take those kinds of problems to the vendors or the hospital administration.

Last fall, Grassley wrote directly to major health information technology vendors regarding these kinds of issues and concerns. He is currently reviewing responses from the vendors who received a letter from him. The vendors are the Cerner Corporation, 3M Company, Allscripts, Cognizant Technology Solutions, Computer Sciences Corporation, Eclipsys, Epic Systems Corporation, McKesson Corporation, Perot Systems Corporation, and Philips Healthcare.

This week, Grassley sent his letter to the following hospitals: Banner Health, Brigham & Women's Hospital Case Western Reserve University Hospital Health System, Catholic Healthcare West, Cedars Sinai Children's National Medical Center, Geisinger Medical Center, Hackensack Hospital, HCA TriStar, Intermountain Healthcare, Indiana University Hospital, Jefferson Regional Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente System, Marshfield Clinic, Massachusetts General Hospital, Mayo Clinics, Memorial Hermann Healthcare System, Methodist Hospital of Indiana, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, Saint Mary Mercy Hospital, Seattle Children's Hospital, Stony Brook University Medical Center, Trinity Hospital System Tufts Medical Center, University of California San Francisco Medical Center, University of Pennsylvania Health System, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, University of Virginia Medical Center, and Vanderbilt University Hospital.

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