Alexander, Murray Announce Series of Bipartisan Hearings on Ways to Improve Health Information Technology

Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) announced today’s hearing would mark the start of a series of bipartisan hearings on possible solutions to achieve the promise of health IT. The senators announced that Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) will chair, and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) will serve as ranking member, for the committee’s next hearing in the series, and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) will chair a subsequent hearing.

“Today’s hearing sets the table for an important series of hearings the committee will hold over the summer focused on how we can improve electronic health records for doctors and their patients,” said Alexander. “Our goal, through the hearings and our committee’s bipartisan working group, will be to identify the five or six steps we can take to improve electronic health records—technology that has great promise, but has, through bad policy and bad incentives, run badly off track.”

“If we want to continue improving the quality and value of health care patients and families receive, we absolutely need to strengthen our nation’s health IT infrastructure,” said Murray. “I’m pleased that the Committee shares this bipartisan priority and I look forward to working together on ways to empower patients and providers with more effective, efficient electronic health records.”

Alexander and Murray announced the committee’s next hearing in the series will be on June 16th and will focus on opportunities to improve physician experience with health IT. Alexander said he has asked Senator Cassidy to chair that hearing, adding, “Senator Cassidy’s background as physician makes him the perfect chair for this important hearing.” Murray has asked Senator Whitehouse to serve as ranking member, adding, “Senator Whitehouse has always been a strong leader and voice in the conversation about how to improve health and wellbeing for families, and I’m grateful he will be sharing his expertise as ranking member for this upcoming hearing.”

Alexander and Murray announced that the following hearing in the series will focus on how to make sure patients can better access their own health information. Alexander said he has asked Senator Collins to chair that hearing, adding “There’s no more effective senator than Susan Collins and there’s no more important issue than determining whether you or I have control of our own health information.” The committee will schedule and announce the ranking member for this hearing in the coming weeks.

In April, Alexander and Murray announced a bipartisan, full committee staff working group to help identify ways that Congress and the administration can work together to improve health IT for doctors, hospitals, and their patients.

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