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Afternoon plenary speaker – Dr. Charles Friedman 06.29.09 1315 – 1400 June 29, 2009

Posted by Scott Erdley in conference, health informatics, NI2009, Plenary, speaker.
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Topic is ‘The National eHealth Initiative in the United States’ for Dr. Friedman today. He was pushed up to this status due to the illness of the opening speaker. He is a US government employee but is on holiday and so none of his talk is official US policy and such. Made this disclaimer to open his speech. Opening salvo by ‘Chuck’ is a review of US health system to provide a backdrop for the rest of the presentation.

Part two of the presentation is a review of HIT, on a national health level, from 2004 – 2008 (development of the Office of National Coordinator / ONC and so forth). The process of adoption, viewed in 2004 and still viewed, needs to move through the ‘tipping point’ (whatever this is) of technology adoption to facilitate health care IT adoption. Adoption in hosptials of HIT (Jha et al. NEJM, 2009) statistics are cited illustrating little adoption of HIT in hospitals as aggregate perspective. Looking at specific applications, though, raises the rate significantly (lab/rad reporting and medication lists for example). Graphic depicting what is called ‘The Nationwide Health Information Network’ to show what this is and what is coming in the near future.

Chuck then moved to current status and support of President Obama and appointment of Dr. David Blumenthal as the National Coordinator for Health IT (author of ‘The Federal Role in Promoting Health Information Technology, Commonwealth Fund, 2009’). Outlined next is the Recovery Act and its sub-act of HITECH, which supports with increased funding of health IT adoption. This support via dollars in the US was a major change in health care. HITECH highlights are permanent ONC for national coordination, payment incentives to providers & hospitals, 6 supportive grant programs, and enhanced privacy & security provisions (aka ‘enhanced trust’). He postulates these ‘hopefully’ will enable acceleration of the HIT in the US.

Final comments by Chuck include addressing the definition of the concept ‘meaningful use’ and the process underway to define this concept. Such definition is needed as financial support is tied to this concept. He had to squeeze through, due to time, and so did discuss in-depth additional points raised during the entire presentation.

On to afternoon sessions!

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