Health information technology reforms need to work in tandem with payment and quality initiatives to be effective, industry experts said at a meeting sponsored by the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform at the Brookings Institution, Washington.
Health IT has a broad range of capabilities and will be a “highly effective tool” in promoting healthcare reform, but IT alone “won’t ensure improvements in quality and the cost of care,” Mark McClellan, director of the Engelberg Center, told participants.
Fully integrating payment reforms and quality goals with health IT is the recipe to improve care, McClellan emphasized.
In addition, clear and specific goals should be established on health IT investment, said Carol Diamond, managing director of the Markle Foundation, summarizing the findings of the foundation’s recent report on heath IT and reform. Otherwise, “the government will risk wasting valuable resources and losing support from both healthcare providers and the public for future health IT investments.”
“Meaningful use” of health IT should focus on the needs of patients, not just on the installation of software or hardware, Diamond said.
The key is getting the consumer to be an informed leader “in demanding and understanding what they deserve” in their healthcare, which is what a personally controlled health record could accomplish, said Peter Neupert, corporate vice president with the Health Solutions Group at Microsoft Corp., another panelist at the meeting.