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Actions for enhancing the adoption in Northern Virginia of information technology in health care:

9a. It is improbable that the Commonwealth of Virginia or the Federal Government will provide adequate funding for the development of a Northern Virginia regional digital system necessary to realize the full potential of the benefits of health information technology. Northern Virginia has the health care institutions, educational institutions, technology industry, economic development authorities and infrastructure and the skilled IT workforce to be the nation’s leader in health care information technology. These resources should be exploited by the formation of the Northern Virginia Health Care Information Technology Solution Working Group. This Working Group would lead the establishment of a system in Northern Virginia for the exchange of digital health information. It would support the adoption of electronic medical records (EMR) by health care facilities (acut e, long term, diagnostics centers, ambulatory surgery centers, pharmacies, 3 rd party payors etc.) group practices and solo providers. Implementation of an EMR is reliant upon adoption of health information technology by solo and small group practices. These practices do not presently have the capital, technology infrastructur e, staff and training required to embrace the EMR. The Center would also be an incubator for the development and rapid adaptation of additional health care technology in Northern Virginia by coordinating: funding, education, interoperability and pilot testing. The Northern Virginia Health Care Information Technology Solution Working Group could become a model for the Commonwealth and the rest of the nation. The standardization of technology and its rapid adoption would save the U.S billions in health care costs by improving quality, reducing errors, and eliminating redundancy.

9b. To progress as the leader in health care information technology, Northern Virginia must strengthen and fund its educational programs by:

  • Strengthening and developing its network of academic health care information technology programs at the associat e, baccalaureat e, Masters and doctorate degree level.
  • Increasing the recruitment and IT competency of faculty in health care technology, nursing and allied health programs.
  • Insuring the curricula of Nursing and Allied Health programs have a greater emphasis on IT.
  • Insuring that Health Care Information Technology, Nursing and Allied Health programs have the funding for state-of-the-art technology.
  • Educating parents, educators and students of the vast opportunities a career in health care information technology provides.
  • Providing upward mobility opportunities for new Americans, low skilled and low wage workers.
  • Providing training opportunities/continuing education for incumbent health care workers in information technology.
  • Establish and develop George Mason University as the nation’s predominant research institution for health care information technology. Northern Virginia has the educational, health care and information technology institutions to cultivate world-class research and application of health care information technology.

This can be accomplished by the alignment of education, the health care industry, the technology industry and economic development authorities. Industry can sustain endowed chairs to attract and maintain prominent faculty; provide sabbatical opportunities for their expert employees to be faculty and/or researchers. It can also provide funding for research, state-of-the-art equipment, career awareness and mentoring programs for students. Industry should also develop opportunities for retirees with technology expertise to become adjunct faculty or researchers. Funding can also create career ladders, internships and training.

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