Well, as 2009 winds down, it’s time to look back on an eventful year in health IT. On the policy front, the HITECH Act has ushered in great changes and a huge increase in federal funding to put them in place. We should soon have clearer definitions of the meaningful use guidelines, and the first round of regional extension centers will be awarded in January.
Over the course of the year I saved a handful of quotes that I found intriguing. They come from a variety of sources, including the pages of Healthcare Informatics and my own interviews. If you have a favorite quote about health IT from 2009, share it in the comments section.
“If you can't rush to get the carrots, you should at least try to avoid the sticks.”
-- David Muntz, Baylor Health System Senior Vice President and CIO, talking about the penalties that will be incurred for failing to use an EHR in a “meaningful” way as required under HITECH.
“We have been stunned that people aren't following us. Consumerism is eventually going to change that, but for now we still have a competitive advantage.”
--Ernie Hood, Group Health Cooperative's CIO, speaking about the MyGroupHealth portal connecting more than 40 percent of Group Health's members to their clinical data and physicians through secure messaging.
“You can't wait for the [meaningful use] definition to come out. Classic clinical transformation technologies are not just ‘add water and go.’”
-- Celwyn Evans, senior partner at Greencastle Associates Consulting
In the future, “the idea that government should subsidize health IT will be as foreign an idea as that the government should buy stethoscopes or exam tables for doctors.”
--Dr. David Blumenthal, national coordinator for health information technology
“The past decade has seen fairly rapid growth in HIT, but there's been a stunning lack of public policy. HITECH changed all that.”
--Dr. Peter Basch, senior fellow for health IT policy at the Center for American Progress and medical director for ambulatory clinical systems at MedStar Health
“For every office visit or hospitalization prevented because the patient is healthier, the savings go to those who pay for health care, not to the provider. Payment reforms that reward value, not volume, are key to improving the adoption rate and effective use of health IT systems.”
--Laura Adams, president and CEO of the Rhode Island Quality Institute
“We need the tools to enable us to gain the efficiencies that you have when you buy a book on Amazon or book your own travel online. Those technologies are not being widely used in health care as they are in other industries. That's why the stimulus is so important.”
--Dr. Louis Capponi, chief medical informatics officer, New York City Health and Hospitals Corp.
“We spend $180 billion on mental health each year in this country. It doesn’t make any sense that those EHR incentives don’t apply to mental health providers.”
--Kevin Scalia, executive vice president for corporate development at behavioral health software company Netsmart Technologies
“We didn’t ask for this. ARRA just happened to all of us, so we suddenly found ourselves on a bigger playing field with higher stakes. We had to figure out how to meet this higher responsibility, and since this is now not a purely voluntary matter, we were going to have to deal with that.”
--Outgoing CCHIT Chair Dr. Mark Leavitt