Health IT Guidlines Anticipated
"The Obama administration this week will outline what the nation's doctors and hospitals must do to qualify for billions of dollars in government support to adopt electronic patient records," the New York Times technology blog, Bits, reports. A new draft definition of "meaningful use," an integral part of this weeks announcement, is expected to require physicians to report quality measures, such as controlled blood pressure levels of patients. The plan would eventually move helath providers "from electronic reporting to being reimbursed for better health outcomes."
In anticipation of the new guidelines, Cook Children's Health Care System, in Fort Worth, Texas, "is taking a comprehensive step toward the digital future championed by the Obama administration. The pediatric provider, with 350 employed physicians, plans to install Web-based electronic health records and data integration technology at its 60 offices and clinics throughout Texas. It is also offering personal health records, controlled by the families of its young patients, that can follow them throughout their lifetimes" (Lohr, 7/13).
But another state is the better known home of health information technology: Massachusetts. The Boston Globe reports: "How did people and companies from Massachusetts become so influential in the roll-out of electronic medical records, or EMRs? First, we've had more experience with them than just about any other state. Westwood-based Medical Information Technology Inc. has been writing software for hospitals since the year of the first moon landing. Massachusetts doctors and hospitals do more electronic prescribing - eliminating the need for handwritten scraps of paper - than their counterparts in any other state" (a column Scott Kirsner, 7/12).