NU Online News Service, Oct. 14, 2004, 5:32 a.m. EDT

Many health care opinion leaders want insurers to pay to improve health care organizations’ computers.[@@]

Siemens Medical Solutions, Malvern, Pa., and the Center for Health Transformation, Washington, published that finding in a report on an informal survey of top hospital executives, health care lobbyists, members of health professionals organizations and other “health care influencers.”

Although 33% of the participants said patients should pay for the new health care system technology, 57% said health insurers and managed care companies should pick up the tab. Only 2% said the health care organization or facility that uses the technology should buy it.

Although the CHT was founded by Newt Gingrich, a former Republican House speaker with a reputation for promoting free-market solutions, 51% of the survey participants said the government should pay for the new health care system technology.

Although some say advances in information technology generate more costs than they cut, 60% of the survey respondents said advances in medical technology cut health care costs, and 63% said information technology is more important than other factors in holding down increases in health care costs, according to the survey report.

Both President Bush and John Kerry have agreed that improvement in health system information technology will be important to holding down increases in national health care spending.

Gingrich himself is recommending that the federal government set a goal of investing 1% of its health care budget on health information technology.

“If the government is serious in creating this national health IT infrastructure, it needs to get serious about funding it,” Gingrich says in a statement about the health care influencer survey results.

Siemens Medical is a unit of Siemens A.G., Erlangen, Germany.