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Health IT Event Video Available

August 18th, 2010

Providers will have “no excuses” for not using electronic health records to improve care, Health Affairs Editor-in-Chief Susan Dentzer said in summing up an August 5 National Press Club even on health IT. Video from the event, cosponsored by Health Affairs and the Health Industry Forum at Brandeis University, is now availabe on the Health Affairs Web site.

The event was keynoted by health IT national coordinator David Blumenthal and Marilyn Tavenner, the principal deputy administrator at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Following those presentations, payers, provider organizations, and physician certification and licensure groups detailed the steps they are taking to help providers meet recently issued federal regulations outlining “meaningful use” of health IT.

“Given the bonuses available on the federal level as well as the private level, given the education and training, given the support that providers are likely to get, we really will be moving into an environment of ‘no excuses’ for providers not to adopt this technology,” Dentzer said. “Very importantly,” she added, providers must not just adopt health IT but must “use it to transform practice, to get to the more coordinated, less fragmented, higher quality, better-value-for-the-dollar system that we all hope to achieve.”

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  1. James Mhyre Says:

    Independent physician practices still provide the majority of care in the United States. Broad adoption of EHR technology by independent physicians is a necessary but not sufficient step to automate our healthcare system before we can achieve the “…more coordinated, less fragmented, higher quality, better-value-for-the-dollar system that we all hope to achieve.” Without an effective local health information exchange ecosystem, independent physicians are still left with telephone, fax, and scanning technology to communicate and coordinate care. The accountable care organizations have achieved a more integrated technology platform although their patients still move in and out of their ACOs or get care elsewhere creating health information that needs to be manually managed. Even in well functioning HIE systems, information must still be securely managed and restricted to meet privacy policies and HIPAA laws. Using my fully CCHIT certified ambulatory EHR to obtaining the laboratory results previously ordered by another provider requires one or more staff telephone requests, possible patient consent signatures, and manually scanning the faxed results document before I can view the unstructured results in my patient’s electronic record. When I complete my clinic notes, they will be compiled and sent by my EHR “with just a few simple keystrokes” to the referring physician’s fax machine for their staff to scan into their EHR so that they can read my unstructured clinic note in their inbox. That may not be how our health IT system is envisioned but that is how it is currently practiced after we implemented our EHRs.

    Hopefully HIEs, interoperability standards, and security and privacy practices will mature sufficiently to create the health information ecosystem that will allow physicians to use their newly acquired, ARRA funded EHR systems to communicate, coordinate, and more efficiently manage their patients’ care.

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