The Office of the National Coordinator has kicked off National Health IT Week 2016 by publishing a message from President Obama. The President stressed his administration’s commitment to health IT with the goal of improving people’s health through breakthroughs in innovation and technology:
“When clinicians, researchers, individuals, and families have access to the tools, information, and resources they need, everyone can lead safer and healthier lives. During National Health IT Week, we recommit ourselves to improving the health of our citizenry using the breakthrough technologies of our time and reaching for the next frontier of innovation.”
President Obama also provided an update on the progress of EHR adoption, which is now projected as 75% of physicians, and 97% of hospitals using electronic health records:
“Over the past 8 years, my Administration and Congress have invested billions of dollars to encourage the adoption of electronic health records, with partners in the public and private sectors playing a major role. Electronic health records allow physicians, pharmacists, patients, and emergency personnel to access information quickly and securely—enhancing collaboration, improving decision-making, reducing the risk of errors, and putting individuals at the center of their care. Because of our collective efforts, 97 percent of our Nation’s hospitals and three-quarters of doctors are using electronic records to care for their patients.”
There is no doubt that much has been accomplished to proliferate health IT over the President’s two terms in office. With a roadmap that also includes the Precision Medicine Initiative, and initiatives to allow the secure flow of electronic health information directed by consumers, we’re bound to keep seeing improvements in our ability to aggressively fight disease through technical innovation.
You can link to the full version of the President’s official letter here.
In light of the current election cycle, many will be watching the upcoming debates closely to see where each new candidate sits in terms of fostering the adoption and optimization of health IT as a means to reduce costs, and improve the overall quality of care in medicine.
The good news is that the goal of improving health information technology in medicine has been a collaborative effort. On February 9, 2016 the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on Tuesday passed the bipartisan Improving Health Information Technology Act with a vote of 22-0. The bill addressed electronic health record usability and called for transparent ratings on EHR usability and security. AmericanEHR provided testimony and input to the Certified Technology Comparison Task Force regarding best practices for rating EHRs prior to this bill being passed, and we look forward to continuing to support initiatives to improve EHR adoption and optimization in the future.
You can read a summary of the Improving Health Information Technology Act here.