Blumenthal applauds meaningful industry projects

By Mary Mosquera
06:34 PM

Dr. David Blumenthal, the national coordinator for health IT, today cited recently started projects by health care industry organizations as the kinds of public-minded ventures that will be necessary to build an nationwide electronic health care system.

Now that final rules for meaningful use and standards and certification of EHRs have been released, it is critical that the public and private sectors collaborate to further the goal of creating a modern, electronic health information system, he said at a conference sponsored by the Health Industry Forum at Brandeis University and Health Affairs journal.

The rules that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT published establish, "only the parameters of the federal program," he said in a joint statement with Marilyn Tavenner, CMS's principal deputy administrator.

Health care providers, payers, technology vendors and professional licensing bodies have begun efforts, built on the meaningful use rules, that "show both an appreciation of the challenges we face as well as initiative and creativity in applying the resources of these organizations toward meeting our goals," according to Blumenthal and Tavenner.

Among the projects cited was a plan by WellPoint Inc. to start a new short-term financing program for rural and critical access hospitals in underserved communities to help them meet meaningful use requirements. WellPoint will also line up its pay for performance incentives with the federal meaningful use programs.

Another was a plan by ActiveHealth Management and IBM to develop a collaborative care technical solution that collects data from multiple sources through IBM's cloud computing platform to create a more complete view of the patient and delivers analysis and clinical decision support based on ActiveHealth's care engine technology.