Upcoming Health IT Decisions Could Spell Success Or Failure
"An unprecedented effort to computerize the nation's hospitals and physician offices could be the key to reducing crippling health care costs or a giveaway to technology vendors whose sales will be subsidized by taxpayers," the Dallas Morning News reports. The $45 billion, stimulus-funded effort in question could help reduce costs by cutting into the country's $37.6 billion in medical errors each year, for instance. But, if requirements for providers seeking stimulus funding are too strict, the program could turn into "a bonanza for software vendors."
Those requirements called "meaningful use" will be defined by the end of the year. A second draft of the definition is due out this week. An earlier draft, "produced by a federal advisory panel, resembled an approach advocated by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. The government's draft, however, was more aggressive." Meanwhile "Hospitals, physician groups and technology vendors have said the draft would require them to do too much too soon" (Michaels and Roberson, 7/14).
The Morning News also has a brief wrap-up of key health IT points. Hospitals that don't have electronic record systems in place by 2015 will not get the stimulus money and will instead face penalties. Those penalties are not yet defined. The records systems must be certified, and must be able to exchange data with other systems (7/14).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.