In response to Joseph Conn's "MGMA warns HIT stimulus money could be wasted":
A very well thought-out letter with not only criticisms, but some innovative, practical suggestions.
It is very important that the healthcare information technology process go forward with cooperation from the individual physicians as well as the larger healthcare organizations. In fact, not only are physicians combined with technical gurus in forming the exact definition of how we interconnect everything, the whole group is very ably led by a practicing doctor.
I agree with the point about not reinventing—the entire standardization effort builds totally on standards that are pre-existing and proven through hard practical use in treating patients. The initial work in a relatively short timeframe is to make sure the first very basic treatment actions talk to each other and talk with other systems. Speaking of timeframes, the group charged with this task hit the ground running on Feb. 17 of this year when the president signed the bill into law—largely based on very competent work done for the past four years from one of our most prestigious standards organization.
Once the benefits to individual healthcare providers become clear, the quick (for government) rollout will make a lot of sense. And, as I understand it, it is not a “do it or else” mandate, but a financial incentive that the physician can forgo, at least at first. Are we not embarrassed to have by far the lowest adoption of computerized health record utilization for a major country? Does the appearance in a waiting-room office of those dog-eared jackets with multicolored indexes not smack of unvarnished anachronism? How much better a job could we do if every health professional knew what treatment and result the patient has had since conception? (Putting the obvious dangers of tort penalties and government scrutiny aside.)
But the spirit and the content of the letter asks for precisely what every great product development does—listen to the customer. (In this case the patient, but the doctor is in charge.) In fact, the Food and Drug Administration starts its strict rules on how we have to develop medical products with two mandates: a) Consider the risks before you take one step in product development; and b) Listen to the customer.
Tom MarinerBayport, N.Y.
What do you think? Submit a letter to Your Views. Please include your name, title, company and hometown. Health IT Strategist reserves the right to edit all submissions.
Also, please share your thoughts by taking our latest HITS reader poll.