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President Bush’s Address Puts Health IT in Spotlight


eHI’s Connecting Communities for Better Health on Target With Second Term Goals

Washington, DC, 02/03/2005, In his annual State of the Union Address Wednesday evening, President George W. Bush declared his continuing support for information technology (IT) to improve healthcare, asking Congress to move forward on “...improved health information technology to prevent medical errors and needless costs.” The President’s latest endorsement follows his trip to the Cleveland Clinic last week where he said the federal government’s role was to fund “regional hubs” (to support health information exchange) to “really get the process started.”

“The eHealth Initiative applauds the President’s commitment to improving healthcare through information technology and his recognition of the importance of regional initiatives; an area where the eHealth Initiative is heavily focused,” said Janet M. Marchibroda, Chief Executive Officer, eHealth Initiative (eHI). “Through the Connecting Communities for Better Health Program, the eHealth Initiative Foundation stimulates and supports innovation in the use of health information technology and exchange at the regional and community-based levels, which are key elements of the President’s second term agenda.”

A nationwide, public-private collaborative, the Connecting Communities for Better Health (CCBH) Program is accelerating multi-stakeholder efforts at the state, regional and community levels to enable electronic connectivity and mobilize healthcare data across organizations. These efforts are addressing many of the challenges created in part by the current fragmented, paper-based U.S. healthcare system. At each initiative’s core are communities of physicians, hospitals and other providers, labs, public health agencies, payers and other groups working together to make use of clinical applications and electronic connectivity to improve patient care.

From electronic health records that capture patient data to decision support tools bringing the latest medical knowledge to the point of care, numerous studies have shown IT’s potential for saving lives and delivering healthcare more efficiently.

In less than one year, CCBH has stimulated public-private sector collaboration and action to support these and a multitude of IT applications to improve healthcare. It has done so by:

-- Providing seed funding to nine multi-stakeholder regional and community-based health information exchange projects;
-- Launching the Connecting Communities Learning Network, which includes a rich set of tools and resources; and
-- Building a consortium of over 100 state, regional and community-based initiatives that are sharing best practices and lessons learned in the field.

“President Bush clearly understands the vital role health information technology plays in reducing errors, improving quality and tackling efficiency challenges within healthcare,” said Janet M. Marchibroda, CEO, eHealth Initiative. “Through our Connecting Communities for Better Health program, we are touching over 100 communities across the nation who are now utilizing IT and launching health information networks. The President’s commitment -- demonstrated both in his State of the Union address and his comments last week -- are real boosts to innovators and pioneers in regions across America now tackling the financial, technical, and organizational challenges related to health information exchange.”
The Connecting Communities for Better Health Program is conducted by the eHealth Initiative Foundation under a cooperative agreement with the Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration Office for the Advancement of Telehealth. For additional information on CCBH, see

The eHealth Initiative and its Foundation are independent, non-profit affiliated organizations whose missions are the same: to drive improvement in the quality, safety and efficiency of healthcare through information and information technology.


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