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TECHNOLOGY: HIMSS’ view of what’s hidden in the Medicare bill & the UK really starts up

There’s quite a bit of tech push buried in the Medicare bill, but it’s mostly demonstration projects.  Go take a look at the summary by HIMSS and wonder what could be done if just some of the money used to bribe the AMA, the AARP, employers, the health plans and the PBMs into supporting the bill had been directed to info tech where it could do some good.

Then take a look at what just happened in the UK where contracts for the National Health Information infrastructure were awarded nationally and in some regions yesterday.  Consider the numbers, BT gets $2.8 billion to build a record infrastructure and to wire London, Accenture gets $1.9 billion to do the north-east, Cerner already got $64 million to build a booking system, and there are another 3 more regional contracts worth another $5 billion to be awarded. In American terms you need to multiply those awards by 6 for population and at least 1.5 for relative GDP (or 3 times for relative health spending!), so that’s the equivalent of the US awarding $100 billion of IT contracts (over 10 years).  Currently the US as a whole spends roughly $20 billion a year on health care IT.  So the equivalent program here would be a 50% annual increase in spending.

Then wonder whether the free market or socialized medicine is going to be making full use of information technology in health care first.

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