California Can Lead the Way in Health Information Technology

Recommendations to Governor Schwarzenegger’s eHealth Action Forum

This is archived content; for historical reference only.

With costs spiraling out of control, inconsistent quality of care, and millions unable to access appropriate health services, California and the nation face the sobering reality of a serious and growing health care crisis. In the search for solutions, mounting evidence points to strategic investment in health information technology (IT) as a way to transform health care by reducing waste, improving care, and reining in costs.

In what may have been the nation’s largest investment in health IT to date, Governor Schwarzenegger issued an executive order in 2006 calling for the convening of the eHealth Action Forum to gather input and develop a comprehensive state policy agenda for health IT by July 2007. Outlined in the order is the goal of having all health data exchanged electronically in California within ten years, and the investment of $240 million to support the adoption of health IT strategies.

Based on extensive research and experience in the field, the California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF) released an issue brief outlining ten recommendations to help the eHealth Action Forum achieve its goals. The recommendations were intended to help shape the agenda and contribute to the state’s strategy for action.

The recommendations span six key leverage points in the application of health care IT:

  • Empower California’s consumers with information about their health care providers, health insurers, and their own personal health care, with stringent safeguards to ensure privacy and confidentiality;
  • Equip providers, especially those who care for underserved populations, with effective and affordable health IT tools to improve performance and efficiency of clinical care;
  • Educate and expand California’s health care workforce in the use of IT;
  • Build a robust infrastructure that will keep Californians safe in the event of an emergency and serve as a foundation for transforming health care;
  • Provide leadership that will coordinate the health IT activities of the state’s many departments and programs and align public and private sector actions; and
  • Support investments that recognize the social good that can come from targeted applications of health IT.

The issue brief is available under the Document Downloads. An additional document provides an overview of efforts underway, sponsors, and stakeholders.