Health IT Money Secured, But Program Faces Challenges
Washington has channeled billions of dollars to help hospitals and doctors adopt electronic medical records, but obstacles remain on the horizon. One possible challenge is that no entity has yet been named to "test and certify" the records, Modern Healthcare reports. Nonetheless, one group, The Certification Commission for Health Information Technology, will begin taking applications Feb. 12 from health IT vendors to do just that. The group fulfilled the certifying function for much of the Bush administration and gained the confidence of then-HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt. The group's chairman says they've proven they can meet federal requirements, but are now waiting in line along with other groups in anticipation of an upcoming policy outlining a new recognition process (Conn, 1/25).
Another issue is privacy, according to Forbes. "In a study released Monday by the privacy-focused Ponemon Institute, Americans registered a deep distrust of anyone in either the federal government or private industry who might store digital health records like those that the Obama administration has encouraged hospitals to create" (Greenberg, 1/25).
"Health practitioners, information tech experts, lawyers, ethicists and government officials are racing to implement a national system by 2014," The Kansas City Star reports. The biggest pay-offs of health IT, such as the ability to use medical records databases for comparative effectiveness research, depend on the a ability to share information (Stafford, 1/25).