A Healthy Blog

Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

Two Part-e-Health Proposals

Two Part-e-Health Proposals

November 4, 2008

The complexity of the topic of e-health, with its potential to afford more efficient, effective, economical, and engaged health care, counterbalanced by the paucity of proof (that it works) in the form of data, due to its newness and low uptake so far, make it a tough issue for the candidates to grapple with. Although neither Senator McCain nor Senator Obama have outlined a detailed plan of e-health record implementation and exchange, each has addressed, at least generally, health information technology (HIT).

According to the Commonwealth Fund, and E-Health Insider, Senator McCain focuses on telemedicine (telehealth) to provide remote access to patients who are far from providers and/or are in areas that are underserved. He also sees technology as a way of "allowing doctors to practice across state lines," though does not mention any kind of national legal structure or policy framework that would permit such activity, nor does he have a plan to move forward in this arena.

Senator Obama proposes investing "$10 billion a year over five years for nationwide adoption of standards-based health information technology systems, including electronic health records." His plan also talks about phasing in HIT implementation and coordinating this effort with "providers and frontline workers." Senator Obama’s plan mentions the need to protect patient privacy, a priority concern for Health Care For All.

Lisa Fenichel
eHealth Consumer Advocate