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Blunt Creates Healthcare Technology Task Force

Governor Matt Blunt announced Tuesday the formation of the Healthcare Information Technology Task Force. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

Governor Matt Blunt says the new task force will look at ways the healthcare industry can use technology to improve patient care.

Blunt says in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, it became apparent that patients' health records are vulnerable and not easily accessible in times of crisis.

In his State of the State Address last week, Blunt called on lawmakers to set aside 25 million dollars in a Healthcare Technology Trust Fund.

He says the new task force will decide how best to spend that money to computerize and standardize healthcare records.

Blunt says it's a worthwhile investment of state funds in a private industry.

One of the main issues that the task force will face is the issue of privacy.

The federal medical records privacy law, known as HIPPA controls who is authorized to see a patient's healthcare information.

Blunt says the move to digitize health records will have to give careful consideration to HIPPA requirements.

The chair of the 14-member task force will be Julie Eckstein, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

Blunt says he'll announce the members of the task force by the end of the month.