From President George W. Bush's embrace of healthcare IT to the opening of HealthCare.gov, hard work, government incentives, political battles and more have made for broad and rapid changes in healthcare in the past 10 years. Click images to enlarge.
On Jan. 20, 2004, President George W. Bush was the first president to mention healthcare information technology in his State of the Union Address. His remarks had the industry abuzz.
Neil Rouda (right) and Jack Beaudoin founded MedTech Publishing (later renamed MedTech Media). They published the first issue of Healthcare IT News in November 2003, in partnership with HIMSS. Today, MedTech Media is HIMSS Media, a division of HIMSS.
The 2004 HIMSS Annual Conference & Exhibition in Orlando, Fla., featured Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House and founder of the Center for Health Transformation, as keynote speaker. Board Chairman David Garets opened the conference. Tim Zoph, VP and CIO at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, was named CIO of the Year.
The first healthcare IT czar David Brailer, MD, attracted a crowd as he toured the Cross-Enterprise Interoperability Showcase at the 2005 HIMSS Annual Conference & Exhibition in Dallas. President George W. Bush named Brailer national coordinator for healthcare information technology on May 6, 2004.
HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt talks with doctors at Louisiana State University in September 2005, post-Hurricane Katrina's landfall on Aug. 29. Many paper records were destroyed in the storm, adding impetus to the move toward digital health records.
In a departure from its longstanding best-of-breed approach to technology, in the fall of 2006 Sharp Healthcare in San Diego announced it would replace its separate business and clinical systems with one. It meant yanking out IDX Flowcast on the business side and CliniComp on the clinical side and rolling out Cerner's Millennium suite at Sharp's seven locations.
When former ER star George Clooney landed in the hospital for real after a motorcycle accident in September 2007, some staff members at New Jersey's Palisades Medical Center couldn't resist a peek at his medical records. They were disciplined, and the incident brought attention to patient privacy rights.
[See also: Clooney factor puts privacy on stage]
More than 1,000 protestors calling for a single-payer healthcare system converged June 19, 2008 outside the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, where America's Health Insurance Plans' annual conference was under way.
In a speech on America's economic crisis delivered Jan. 8, 2009, President Elect Barack Obama promised EHRs for every American by 2014. In February 2009, Obama launched a $787 billion economic stimulus package that included $19 billion toward healthcare information technology. On Dec. 30, 2009, CMS and ONC unveiled definitions for the Meaningful Use EHR Incentive Program.
[See also: Done deal: Obama signs stimulus package into law]
Andrew M. Wiesenthal, MD, associate executive director at The Permanente Foundation, announced on March 3, 2010, that Kaiser Permanente had completed its rollout of KP HealthConnect, Kaiser's own brand of the Epic electronic health record, to 431 medical offices and 36 hospitals.
[See also: Kaiser KP HealthConnect rollout done]
Federal officials released the 864-page final rule on meaningful use on July 13, 2010, setting the criteria for physicians and hospitals to qualify for thousands of dollars in stimulus funding incentives for the adoption of electronic health records.
[See also: Flexibility built into final rule on meaningful use]
Dozens of would-be competitors collaborate under ONC auspices on a pivotal data exchange initiative called Direct Project. Speaking at HIMSS11, National Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra advocated for open source collaboration, liberating data and delivering it for new uses.
From the Healthcare IT Index: Direct Project
The HITECH Act, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, created programs to dig healthcare out from its crush of paper and move it into a 21st century digital foundation. In November 2012, Healthcare IT News took the measure of the law's effect and concluded progress would have been slow without government impetus.
[See also: What would we have done without HITECH?]
A tougher-than-ever HIPAA rule to guard patients' personal health information went into effect on Sept. 24, 2013, promising rigorous surveillance and stiffer penalties. Leon Rodriguez, director of the Office for Civil Rights at HHS, was charged with enforcing the law.
[See also: Ready or not: HIPAA gets tougher today]
On Oct. 1, 2013, HealthCare.gov, the government's health insurance website, opened - and crashed - for many would-be shoppers. Hundreds of glitches have since been repaired, and officials say the updated website is working smoothly.
[See also: What happened to HealthCare.gov?]