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Mostashari: Create a 'Nation of Beacons'

June 28, 2011
by David Raths
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ONC leader tells ACO Summit that MU provides roadmap to quality gains

Speaking to a mixed audience of providers and insurers on June 27, Farzad Mostashari, M.D., national coordinator for health IT, delivered a strong defense of meaningful use as closely aligned with national quality goals, clinical transformation, and payment reforms.

Addressing attendees of the hybrid Accountable Care Organization Summit and Health Information Technology and Delivery Transformation Summit in Washington, D.C., Mostashari called the 17 Beacon communities funded by the Office of the National Coordinator “crown jewels” because they put together health IT, payment, and clinical transformation innovations in the same place at the same time. But the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) means that payment and care delivery reforms can come together on a national scale. “We can create a nation of beacons,” he said.

Mostashari first urged audience members to familiarize themselves with the National Quality Strategy. “It is a short, readable document that sets specific goals, and they are the goals we are aligning behind,” he said.

He then challenged any audience members who are disgruntled with meaningful use and view it as a bureaucratic distraction to think about how tracking quality measures and using decision support and patient registries can make a huge impact on cardiovascular disease care.

Also, if organizations want to succeed with value-based purchasing, they need these tools, Mostashari added. “If you’re going to do population health management, you need to have data in place and tools to look at it.”

Farzad Mostashari, M.D.

In closing, Mostashari noted that a few years ago only 10 percent of hospitals had basic EHRs. Now 86 percent say they intend to apply for meaningful use incentives. “Wow!” he said. “They are not doing it just because of the money. They are doing it because it is aligned with what they need to do. Meaningful use is not a distraction,” he stressed. “It is a roadmap to prepare, and it helps mitigate some of the costs. But if we are not succeeding, if it is a distraction, then we need to change it.”


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