• June 2010

East Meets West (Coast) On Health Information Technology

By Robin Strongin
Creator, Disruptive Women in Health Care

East Coast: In and around the DC Beltway, there is a tremendous amount of excitement when it comes to Health Information Technology (HIT) and Electronic Health Records (EHRs). Lots of mainstream IT vendors, trade associations and HIT gurus are licking their chops. Policy wonks, legislative aides and administration appointees have been diligently debating the thorny issues of the day: privacy, security, standards, and meaningful use.

West Coast: In and around Silicon Valley, there is a tremendous amount of excitement when it comes to Health Information Technology (HIT). Lots of software engineers, health 2.0 entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists are licking their chops. IT experts, computer intelligensia, and bleeding edge developers have been diligently innovating the thorny issues of the day: privacy, security, standards, and meaningful use.

East meets West.

Understanding the Discussion

Policy makers and legislators are talking about the promise of increased efficiencies, cost savings, and meaningful use.

HIT innovators are also talking about the right to personal health data, personal health records, and meaningful use.

Here’s what the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator’s website has to say about the topic:

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act authorizes the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to provide a reimbursement incentive for physician and hospital providers who are successful in becoming “meaningful users” of an electronic health record (EHR). These incentive payments begin in 2011 and gradually phase down. Starting in 2015, providers are expected to have adopted and be actively utilizing an EHR in compliance with the “meaningful use” definition or they will be subject to financial penalties under Medicare.

The focus on meaningful use is a recognition that better health care does not come solely from the adoption of technology itself, but through the exchange and use of health information to best inform clinical decisions at the point of care.

Including the Patient in Informed Clinical Decision Making

But who’s talking about meaningful use for today’s patients, the future HIT generation?

What we have here is a teachable moment. If we are really serious about meaningful use, it must be meaningful for the patient. Not just for health providers.

How do we make sure the public (patient and caregivers) are well informed? What, if any, consumer protections may be necessary (i.e., a misdiagnosis is inadvertently entered in an electronic health record. How does that correction get made and who makes it? How is it corrected everywhere in cyberspace?)

How do we insure that all people–the disabled, those who don’t speak English–will be able to meaningfully use HIT?

My Suggestion

As we make the transition from paper to electronic records let’s have the National Coordinator, working with patient, consumer, and provider groups develop a HIT LIST–a plain English (with translations as needed) document explaining what electronic records are, why they are meaningful/useful to patients, along with a consumer check list of questions patients should ask.

If I were putting this together, I would also include where to go for help (both online and offline).

Ideally, patients need to receive this HIT LIST before they are sick.

2010 Disruptive Women Breakfast Series

Join Robin for the next breakfast meeting!

Topic: Health 2.0 — User-Generated Healthcare

When: June 8, 2010
7:30am – 8:00am Breakfast
8:00am – 9:00am Program

Where: Rayburn House Office Building
Room B-339, Washington, DC

Speakers include:

Indu Subaiya, Co-Founder, Health 2.0, and Disruptive Women in Health Care blogger

Julie Murchinson, Managing Director of Manatt Health Solutions, Co-Founder, Health 2.0 Accelerator, and Disruptive Women in Health Care blogger

A panel of leading women Health 2.0 entrepreneurs:
Alexandra Drane, Eliza Corporation
Linda Von Schweber, SURVEYORHealth
Marlene Beggelman, MD, Enhanced Medical Decisions

To see a list of all the topics, speakers, sponsors and to register please visit www.disruptivewomen.net/breakfastseries.

There is no charge for the breakfasts. If you are interested in sponsoring a breakfast please contact Robin Strongin by email at rstrongin@amplifypublicaffairs.net or phone, 202.263.2900.

About Robin Strongin

Robin Strongin is an accomplished public affairs expert, with more than 25 years of experience working in Washington, DC. Her areas of specialization include health care, science, technology and innovation. Robin has worked with and for federal and state governments, regulatory agencies, Congress, think tanks, nonprofit organizations, corporations, coalitions and trade associations.

She founded Disruptive Women in Health Care in 2008 to serve as a platform for provocative ideas, thoughts and solutions in the health sphere. “We recognize that to accomplish this, we need to call on experts outside of the health industry,” she asserts.

She is also the president of Amplify Public Affairs, the next generation in public affairs, leading the way in the integration of new media and traditional communications strategies.

Contact Robin by email, rstrongin@amplifypublicaffairs.net.