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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
April 27, 2004

Executive Order: Incentives for the Use of Health Information Technology and Establishing the Position of the National Health Information Technology Coordinator

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and to provide leadership for the development and nationwide implementation of an interoperable health information technology infrastructure to improve the quality and efficiency of health care, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Establishment. (a) The Secretary of Health and Human Services (Secretary) shall establish within the Office of the Secretary the position of National Health Information Technology Coordinator.

(b) The National Health Information Technology Coordinator (National Coordinator), appointed by the Secretary in consultation with the President or his designee, will report directly to the Secretary.

(c) The Secretary shall provide the National Coordinator with appropriate staff, administrative support, and other resources to meet its responsibilities under this order.

(d) The Secretary shall ensure that the National Coordinator begins operations within 90 days of the date of this order.

Sec. 2. Policy. In fulfilling its responsibilities, the work of the National Coordinator shall be consistent with a vision of developing a nationwide interoperable health information technology infrastructure that:

(a) Ensures that appropriate information to guide medical decisions is available at the time and place of care;

(b) Improves health care quality, reduces medical errors, and advances the delivery of appropriate, evidence-based medical care;

(c) Reduces health care costs resulting from inefficiency, medical errors, inappropriate care, and incomplete information;

(d) Promotes a more effective marketplace, greater competition, and increased choice through the wider availability of accurate information on health care costs, quality, and outcomes;

(e) Improves the coordination of care and information among hospitals, laboratories, physician offices, and other ambulatory care providers through an effective infrastructure for the secure and authorized exchange of health care information; and

(f) Ensures that patients' individually identifiable health information is secure and protected.

Sec. 3. Responsibilities of the National Health Information Technology Coordinator. (a) The National Coordinator shall, to the extent permitted by law, develop, maintain, and direct the implementation of a strategic plan to guide the nationwide implementation of interoperable health information technology in both the public and private health care sectors that will reduce medical errors, improve quality, and produce greater value for health care expenditures. The National Coordinator shall report to the Secretary regarding progress on the development and implementation of the strategic plan within 90 days after the National Coordinator begins operations and periodically thereafter. The plan shall:

(i) Advance the development, adoption, and implementation of health

care information technology standards nationally through

collaboration among public and private interests, and consistent with

current efforts to set health information technology standards for

use by the Federal Government;

(ii) Ensure that key technical, scientific, economic, and other

issues affecting the public and private adoption of health

information technology are addressed;

(iii) Evaluate evidence on the benefits and costs of interoperable

health information technology and assess to whom these benefits and

costs accrue;

(iv) Address privacy and security issues related to interoperable

health information technology and recommend methods to ensure

appropriate authorization, authentication, and encryption of data for

transmission over the Internet;

(v) Not assume or rely upon additional Federal resources or spending

to accomplish adoption of interoperable health information

technology; and

(vi) Include measurable outcome goals.

(b) The National Coordinator shall:

(i) Serve as the Secretary's principal advisor on the development,

application, and use of health information technology, and direct the

Department of Health and Human Service's health information

technology programs;

(ii) Ensure that health information technology policy and programs

of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are coordinated

with those of relevant executive branch agencies (including Federal

commissions) with a goal of avoiding duplication of efforts and of

helping to ensure that each agency undertakes activities primarily

within the areas of its greatest expertise and technical capability;

(iii) To the extent permitted by law, coordinate outreach and

consultation by the relevant executive branch agencies (including

Federal commissions) with public and private parties of interest,

including consumers, providers, payers, and administrators; and

(iv) At the request of the Office of Management and Budget, provide

comments and advice regarding specific Federal health information

technology programs.

Sec. 4. Reports. To facilitate the development of interoperable health information technologies, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall report to the President within 90 days of this order on options to provide incentives in HHS programs that will promote the adoption of interoperable health information technology. In addition, the following reports shall be submitted to the President through the Secretary:

(a) The Director of the Office of Personnel Management shall report within 90 days of this order on options to provide incentives in the Federal Employee Health Benefit Program that will promote the adoption of interoperable health information technology; and

(b) Within 90 days, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the Secretary of Defense shall jointly report on the approaches the Departments could take to work more actively with the private sector to make their health information systems available as an affordable option for providers in rural and medically underserved communities.

Sec. 5. Administration and Judicial Review. (a) The actions directed by this order shall be carried out subject to the availability of appropriations and to the extent permitted by law.

(b) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity against the United States, its agencies, its entities or instrumentalities, its officers or employees, or any other person.

GEORGE W. BUSH

THE WHITE HOUSE,

April 27, 2004.

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