Blumenthal: Health IT about to Swing into Full Gear

Health IT Coordinator Dr. David Blumenthal, Photo:

Electronic health records and other forms of health IT have survived the wrangling over defining “meaningful use.” But, until recently, EHR was often more about talk than action.

Not so anymore, said National Coordinator for Health IT Dr. David Blumenthal, on the Health IT Buzz blog.

In his post, he touts new statistics — showing that for primary care providers, adoption of a basic EHR increased from 19.8 percent in 2008 to 29.6 percent in 2010.

“And with HITECH Act programs now in full swing,” he writes, “it looks clear that adoption and use of health information technology will go into high gear.”

He again turns to the stats. In a recent survey, 81 percent of hospitals and 41 percent of office physicians said they intend to achieve meaningful use of EHRs and qualify for incentive payments.

But, aside from the nitty-gritty of meaningful use numbers, Blumenthal, who announced earlier this month he would leave his post and return to teaching at Harvard in the spring, waxes philosophic about the role of information in health IT.

“In healthcare, as in so many industries, information plays a vital role,” he writes. “From diagnosis and treatment of an individual, to the allocation of health organization resources and even real-time response to public health needs, decisions are guided by the available information. With health IT, decision makers on all levels have access to improved and more actionable information.”

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