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HHS Secretary Tom Price calls health IT important, but too burdensome for doctors

The HHS secretary said interoperability is needed, but pledged his office will take a "60,000-foot" view.

U.S  Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price on Thursday said what many doctors are thinking: "We need our physicians to be patient-facing, not computer-facing."

But that doesn't mean he's opposed to robust health information technology.

Price, speaking at the Health Datapalooza Conference, said he supports efforts to achieve true interoperability between electronic health records and other systems, but not at the expense of physician face-time with patients.

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"The promise of health IT is so great, but we must recognize that a one-size-fits-all, inflexible system for our nation's patients and physicians simply will not work," he said, according to Politico.

[Also: Sanjay Gupta, Tom Price clash during CNN appearance over GOP proposed 'skinny plans']

Price, a surgeon himself, stopped short of promising rigid government oversight over efforts to improve healthcare technology. Like many positions tied to the Trump administration, Price advocated for private-sector leadership and said HHS will "encourage interoperability from the 60,000-foot level."

Price also hinted at removing some of the reporting burden tied to the meaningful use program, which likely appeased those who have been pushing for a softer policy in dictating health IT adoption.

Twitter: @HenryPowderly
Contact the author: henry.powderly@himssmedia.com