Editor's Note: Health-Care Costs Need A Shot Of IT - InformationWeek

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John Foley
John Foley
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Editor's Note: Health-Care Costs Need A Shot Of IT

Last week began with an hour-long presentation by my company's HR department on health-plan options for the coming year. I learned that I have some decisions to make about which program to choose and that, if I stay with my current health plan, the costs are going up.

Millions of employees in thousands of companies are going through the same drill. Spiraling health-care costs are being felt by employers and employees alike, creating a cost-of-living pain that ibuprofen won't help. (Just ask the autoworkers whose benefits are being cut by General Motors.) As companies try to rein in health-care costs, the best many can hope for is slowing the growth, not stopping it. We had to ask: What more can be done?

The answer will be surprising to IT pros who think runaway health-care costs are the HR department's problem to solve. Our story "No Quick Cure" reveals there are things business-technology managers can and should be doing to help their companies contain rising health-care premiums and other expenses. Approaches range from simply giving employees online access to health-care information to concerted efforts among business partners. Wal-Mart Stores CIO Linda Dillman plans to brainstorm with some of her CIO peers at a meeting this fall.

There's something for others to learn from the examples here. IT managers shouldn't wait for someone else in the company to figure out that the IT department has a role to play in checking health-care costs. Make it your business to get involved--and remember to eat your vegetables and get plenty of exercise.

John Foley,
[email protected]

Stephanie Stahl returns next week

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