Members of the healthcare information technology community expressed relief on Thursday that, at the least, a decision has been reached on the healthcare reform law's fate.
Health IT "is critical to the ongoing transformation in our nation," said H. Stephen Lieber, president and CEO of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, in a news release. "Like the rest of the country, (HIMSS) is relieved that questions about the healthcare reform law have now been settled and the nation can move forward with the essential work of transforming healthcare in America."
Dave Roberts, vice president of government relations for HIMSS, said long-standing bipartisan support for health IT in Congress "remains strong and has been unaffected by the debate on the healthcare reform law." Despite lawmakers' differing opinions on the healthcare reform law, he continued, "We anticipate that the benefits of health IT will continue to receive bipartisan support as our nation establishes the infrastructure necessary for improving patient care and takes strides to enhance the cost-effectiveness of care delivery in the U.S.
Providers and payers won't be the only groups affected by the technological implications of healthcare reform, predicted Dr. William Bria, chairman of the Association of Medical Directors for Information Systems and corporate director for medical informatics at Shriners Hospitals for Children. Patients, too, will use technology to become much more engaged in their healthcare—to access, review and add to their medical records as well communicate with their caregivers—as payments mechanisms in the law incentivize wellness over episodes of care, he said.
"This is the time of democratization of information," Bria said. "The doctor is no longer the oracle but an adviser. That's a whole different role, both on the patient side and the provider side."