Health care has yet to be transformed by the information technology revolution that has swept the U.S. economy. Health information technology (IT) is the use of technology to electronically collect, store, retrieve and transfer clinical, administrative and financial health information. It offers the chance to improve quality and reduce costs in health care.
States have a vital role to play as the health sector transforms from a paper to an electronic system. States influence health IT, as they do health care more generally, in a number of ways—as purchasers, regulators, providers and planners, and through supporting infrastructure, innovation and workforce development. States vary in the extent to which they tend to pick regulatory or market-oriented approaches to influence their health systems, and these policy preferences carry through in their choices related to health IT policy.