Implementation of health information technology is a means if not an end, with the end being healthcare reform, and with reform being defined as improved patient and public health outcomes and improved healthcare delivery, according to Judy Murphy, vice president of information services at Milwaukee-based Aurora Health Care.
"It's not about IT implementation, it's about practice change," Murphy said at the opening of a program held in Rosemont, Ill., titled "Takin' HIT to the Streets" sponsored by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society.
While describing the "era of ARRA," Murphy broke down how the IT subsidies in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, also known as the stimulus law, will work, and estimated that Aurora could receive between $90 million and $100 million in subsidies by meeting the federal government's definition of "meaningful use" for its 14 existing hospitals and the two that it will open this year.
The subsidies won't cover the entire amount, but "it's also not chump change," Murphy said. He noted that President Barack Obama is continuing the efforts President George W. Bush began when he announced the goal of an EHR for every American by 2014.
Murphy, who is also a member of the HIT Standards Committee, added, however, that the money the Obama administration is providing is a "different order of magnitude," and noted how previous federal spending on health IT was about $50 million, while the stimulus law provides for $19 billion—and since Americans have become numb to the word "billion," she referred to the figure as "$19,000 million."