Senator Clinton Proposes National Health Database

January 13, 2004 ( - US Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's proposal for nationwide database to make it easier for health providers to share information is just the start of a long-term health initiative, the Empire State senator said.

Some doctors, hospitals and pharmacies already use electronic health records in areas like paperless prescriptions. But electronic medical records aren’t widely used and Clinton said a government-created system with special standards could change that, the Associated Press reported.

Above and beyond the database, Clinton told a New York City meeting of health-care leaders that she planned to spend a great deal of time on the issue in 2004.

The senator, who as first lady presided over a failed effort at health care overhaul, told the New York meeting that the current health system “often seems fragmented, redundant, inefficient and bureaucratic.”

“Americans need a new, modern, 21st-century version of health-care delivery, based on the premise of information in the hands of the right people at the right time,” Clinton said.

Her new legislation also would increase research on the quality and effectiveness of care, and provide the public with a standardized reporting system that would allow patients to compare performance on hospitals and other providers.

Dr. Benjamin Chu, president of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corp., called the plan a “very thoughtful approach to a very complicated area.”