Dr. David Blumenthal on Health IT Perspective

health_itThe New England Journal of Medicine published Dr. David Blumenthal’s perspective on Health IT and the provisions of the HITECH Act on December 30th, 2009. Blumenthal is the head of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT and his standpoint is that Health IT is vital. In fact, he stated that, “Information is the lifeblood of modern medicine. Health IT is destined to be its circulatory system.”

According to the publication, the HITECH Act is aimed at trying to improve the performance of the healthcare system and ultimately, the health of all Americans. However, there are some obstacles to overcome. For example, it has been shown that some healthcare providers lack technical expertise, so they must gain knowledge and understanding of which is the right system to use.  How will this be overcome? Incentives. Healthcare providers can receive as much as $44,000 in extra income if they are “meaningful users” of the electronic healthcare records.

According to Dr. Blumenthal’s publication, there are four mains goals in Health IT of the Obama administration. First, is to define meaningful use. Second, is to support the meaningful use through incentives. Third, is to increase public support and trust of electronic healthcare systems by maintaining privacy and security. The last goal is to continue health IT innovation.

Dr. Blumenthal is certain that “it is impossible to imagine a high-performing U.S. healthcare system that does not take full advantage of the computing technology that has transformed virtually every other aspect of human endeavor.” The government has already committed $650 million to create a network of health IT centers and ONC has announced another $60 million that will be put into encouraging the use of Health IT.

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