- Melinda Beeuwkes Buntin ( [email protected] ) is a senior economic adviser in the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in Washington, D.C. She is there on leave from RAND Health, in Arlington, Virginia.
- Sachin H. Jain is special assistant to the national coordinator for health information technology.
- David Blumenthal is the national coordinator for health information technology.
The enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a signal achievement on the road to reform, which arguably began with the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. That statute’s Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) provisions created an essential foundation for restructuring health care delivery and for achieving the key goals of improving health care quality; reducing costs; and increasing access through better methods of storing, analyzing, and sharing health information. This article discusses the range of initiatives under HITECH to support health reform, including proposed regulations on “meaningful use” and standards; funding of regional extension centers and Beacon communities; and support for the development and use of clinical registries and linked health outcomes research networks, all of which are critical to carrying out the comparative clinical effectiveness research that will be expanded under health reform.