Testifying before the HIT Policy and Standards Committees on Jan. 29, Cerner Corp. CEO Neal Patterson called for expanded use of secure messaging technology and clear patient identifiers, saying existing ways to identify patients are not adequate.

He applauded the government for requiring electronic health records to support “directed push” capability--which is secure messaging using Direct Project protocols between providers--under Stage 2 of the meaningful use program. Patterson, in a joint committee hearing on health information exchange issues, then went a step further. He urged adoption in subsequent stages of “directed query” so any patient could electronically authorize release of information to a current provider regardless of where the information presently lies.

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