From a historical standpoint, adopting the most fundamental medical technologies have been met with significant doubt and opposition, which is no different from today’s skepticism when it comes to the nationwide implementation of health IT, said National Coordinator for Health IT Dr. David Blumenthal.
“Even though [adoption of health IT] carries the promise of vastly improving the nation’s health care – some hospitals and providers push back,” Blumenthal wrote in a blog Monday. “I resisted using EHRs while an internist in Boston. Over time, however, I found that working with health IT made me a better and safer physician. Most importantly, my patients received better, safer care and improved outcomes.”
According to Blumenthal, the question healthcare providers face today is whether the health IT adoption is pushed “too hard, too fast to make this important change.”
“I respectfully submit, no,” he wrote. “In turn, I ask, ‘Can we make these changes expeditiously enough?’ Americans deserve better health care than they are currently receiving, and they need it delivered more efficiently. Every provider, every patient throughout our nation will benefit from the goals envisioned by the HITECH Act.”
Admitting it would be a challenge and large hospital networks and smaller providers may be stretched to meet national health IT goals, Blumenthal said it is not beyond their capacity for growth.
“Programs, such as our 60 Regional Extension Centers located throughout the United States, are working hard to ensure that providers have all the necessary resources to meet the challenge,” he said. “The incentive program will then provide reimbursement to providers who have achieved meaningful use.”