Speaking at the HIMSS14 Annual Conference & Exhibition this Wednesday evening, Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton did not disappoint.
Addressing a packed crowd of thousands of health IT professionals, Clinton underscored the importance of electronic health records, IT infrastructure and why the industry needs to ditch ideologies at the door for the sake of patient care.
"We are finally seeing the promise of electronic health records, leaving behind the outdated, obsolete, 20th century -- in some cases 19th and 18th century -- ways that records were kept," Clinton said.
Clinton referenced the destruction Hurricane Katrina inflicted on the Gulf Coast back in 2005, a cyclone which left millions of paper medical records destroyed. For many people, this was a huge detriment to patient care. Elderly patients, for example, as Clinton explained, often can't recall the list of medications they take, or perhaps what that little blue pill actually is called.
There had to be a better way to do medical records, she said. Enter the 2009 federal stimulus package, which has provided more than $20 billion to providers and hospitals demonstrating meaningful use of electronic health records, legislation Clinton hailed as a "common sense idea" that helped spur a "information technology revolution," putting the healthcare industry on a forward path.
It's time to embrace evidence, Clinton said, not political ideologies that hamper the healthcare industry's potential, she continued.
This country has "had lots of disagreements," added Clinton. "We've had a civil war for heavens sake. It's not like we just, like in those drug commercials, where we just hold hands and dance through the meadows," she joked, eliciting laughter from the crowd. "We do need to have people who are looking for common ways of approaching problems using evidence but leaving their blaming, their gaming, their shaming, their point scoring at the door."
Overall, Clinton demonstrated her dedication to the cause of making healthcare better, smarter and more innovative.
"What you have done over the last decades has given us the raw materials and the means for making decisions that can revolutionize healthcare, can improve not only lifespan but life quality," said Clinton."We are on the cusp of such extraordinary changes."