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As GAO and others have reported, the use of information technology (IT) has enormous potential to help improve the quality of health care and is important for improving the performance of the U.S. health care system. Given its role in providing health care, the federal government has been urged to take a leadership role to improve the quality and effectiveness of health care, and it has been working to promote the nationwide use of health IT for a number of years. However, achieving widespread adoption and implementation of health IT has proven challenging, and the best way to accomplish this transition remains subject to much debate. At the committee's request, this testimony discusses important issues identified by GAO's work that have broad relevance to the successful implementation of health IT to improve the quality of health care. To develop this testimony, GAO relied largely on its previous work on federal health IT activities.

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