This week was filled with special HIT events convened by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.
Yesterday, the Governor's Healthcare IT Conference began with a panel of CEOs from Humedica, Patientkeeper, Vecna, eCW, Microsoft, Intersystems, Concordant, Biscom, Bessemer Ventures, Life Image, EMC, NaviNet, Navigator Ventures, Meditech, and T2Bio.
Here's a summary of their comments:
- The uncertainty in meaningful use and standards caused a delay in sales for 6 months, followed by record sales once hospitals and eligible professionals felt confident about their purchases.
- Qualified staff is getting harder to find. Over the next few years, there is likely to be a competition for trained healthcare IT professional, similar to the Dot Com era. The states can really help by adding additional resources to community colleges for staff development as we prepare for 50,000 new HIT jobs.
- Medicaid programs and private insurers can accelerate adoption of HIT by aligning incentives. For example, if states and private insurers adopted meaningful use criteria, we could reduce healthcare costs by eliminating redundant testing.
- Massachusetts CEOs emphasized the need for affordable housing and transportation investments so that staff living in lower cost areas can commute to corporate locations.
- Standards, especially a consistent way to transmit clinical data from place to place are enablers.
- Loan programs for clinicians will aid investment today to achieve meaningful use stimulus payments in the future.
- Health Information Exchange is a Greatest Good for the Greatest Number activity. State Governments need to provide leadership to ensure the stakeholders in each region are aligned with a single project plan, a single set of transaction priorities, and all the enablers such as regional infrastructure to accelerate adoption of data exchange.
- Regulatory barriers such as variation in privacy laws need state and federal government action to enable data liquidity. For example, revisions in the clinical laboratory improvement act (CLIA) and e-prescribing for controlled substances are already in process.
The afternoon of the conference included a great keynote by David Blumenthal outlining everything ONC has done thus far.
All that remains in the current grant program is the announcement of Beacon Communities, which he said will occur very soon.
John Halamka, MD blogs regularly at Life as a Healthcare CIO.