Mostashari urges healthcare change

ONC chief offers three inspirations for transformation


“It’s systems that let ordinary people do extraordinary things,” national coordinator for health IT Farzad Mostashari, MD said during a Health IT Policy Committee meeting talk that vice chair Paul Tang described immediately afterward as “inspiring and challenging.”    

The challenge: Transform healthcare to harness the IT either in place today or currently being implemented. And the inspiration: demonstrable improvements in cost and care quality that make patients healthier, for instance, helping diabetics avoid heart attacks or strokes by better managing high blood pressure and LDL levels.    

 “We’re about halfway through the process of computerizing and digitizing America’s hospitals and doctor’s offices,” Mostashari said in the May 7 meeting, “and we’re about 5 percent of the way through changing workflows and redesigning care to take advantage of those technologies.    

Explaining that his favorite part of the work week is a meeting with half a dozen providers involved in the Beacon Community project, Mostashari spotlighted the aforementioned example about an initiative to engage diabetic patients in the effort to monitor and control LDL.

[See also: Mostashari: 3 interoperability questions.]

“That one issue, helping people with diabetes not have strokes and heart attacks by addressing their lipid control has opened up a wonderful window into the skills that we’re going to need to develop,” he continued.

With that, Mostashari shared three suggestions for transforming the healthcare system to take advantage of this IT infrastructure.