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Health IT breakthrough possible in Washington by Eric Novack

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Unnamed senior officials at CMS confidentially report that serious bipartisan discussions are ongoing to help get the Health IT bill completed.

“Electronic medical records and e-prescribing, if mandated throughout the country, would save thousands of American lives each year”, one CMS official stated.

A senior Democrat house staffer, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the leadership thinks that the current situation, where dozens of private companies are aggressively competing against one another to get a foothold in the world of health IT, is counterproductive, wasteful, and costing lives.

“Venture capital and the drive for profits is a distraction that this country, with 47 million uninsured, can simply not afford.”

Proposals apparently under consideration include banning advertising of health IT to doctors, licensing requirements for anyone involved in the sale or promotion of health IT products, and a special ‘health IT tax’ on health IT companies which would allow the Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology (ONCHIT) to distribute funds to areas of the country that lack a health IT infrastructure.

Calls to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for comment have not been returned.

If you think this could, would, or will not happen in an environment
where we sacrifice our individual freedoms for apparent short term
gains, you have not paid any attention to US health care policies over
the last 45 years.

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10 replies »

  1. We truly need one standard fits all. Only the government can unify the country and allow for seamless communication. Microsoft, Apple? Why must there be even TWO of everything, even in the computer industry? Let the government simply declare that PC will be the platform of choice for all – then watch as the innovation astounds us all! (I hope no one believed any of that)

  2. We truly need one standard fits all. Only the government can unify the country and allow for seamless communication. Microsoft, Apple? Why must there be even TWO of everything, even in the computer industry? Let the government simply declare that PC will be the platform of choice for all – then watch as the innovation astounds us all! (I hope no one believed any of that)

  3. We truly need one standard fits all. Only the government can unify the country and allow for seamless communication. Microsoft, Apple? Why must there be even TWO of everything, even in the computer industry? Let the government simply declare that PC will be the platform of choice for all – then watch as the innovation astounds us all! (I hope no one believed any of that)

  4. tcoyote, you have to realize Eric has cherry picked the parts he wants us to see to justify his panic. Eric, can you give us a link to where you got this info from?

  5. To blame the vendor community, a fragmented care system or “venture capital” for the failure of the federal government, after nearly four years of dithering, to define standards that enable IT systems to talk to one another is abject bullshit. It would have helped enormously to be able to put up sufficient funding for the public sector providers who lack resources to purchase such systems (community health centers, public hospitals, critical access facilities, etc), and deny funding for any IT system which fails to meet interoperability standards. Federal officials tried the “Kumbaya” approach of voluntary standard setting but no public funding with predictable results.
    Agree with those who are running out of patience; profoundly disagree w/ the
    Hugo Chavez-esque approach cited in this news post. There are lots of encouraging Health 2.0 applications which could help achieve the goal of portable and usable personal health information. Flogging “the private sector” at this juncture is futile and stupid- it’s where all the technical innovation and billions of dollars in software code development has to come from.

  6. All politics and blaming aside, the fact is that a national standard of functionality and interoperability is imperative if IT is to be implemented in any meaningful way in our country. Since Americans move a lot, portability of their EMR across health systems and state lines is critical. Although they said it badly, I think the politicians have the right idea – that private companies, be they hospitals, physician practice groups, insurance companies or vendors, cannot be allowed to “capture” patient groups to their own individual systems in order to gain market share – in this case, paying patients. Whatever the system is and whomever develops it, it has to work seamlessly across the country. Whatever the feds want to do to enable this principle, I’m for it.

  7. That’s great! Blame the vendors and the profit motive for the lack of progress on healthcare IT? It must be advertising and unqualified sales people holding us back. That’s progress? What are our elected representatives smoking? Where can I get some?

  8. gjudd, not unless it’s to advertise their version of the single mandated standard, I don’t think it’s unreasonable.

  9. Peter, you have to admit that the article’s reference to a proposal to ban health IT advertising reads like something from the Onion.

  10. “A senior Democrat house staffer, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the leadership thinks that the current situation, where dozens of private companies are aggressively competing against one another to get a foothold in the world of health IT, is counterproductive, wasteful, and costing lives.”
    “Venture capital and the drive for profits is a distraction that this country, with 47 million uninsured, can simply not afford.”
    Sounds like their putting away some ideology to face facts and solve problems. Now if we could just get them to realize the same for the rest of healthcare we might get somewhere.
    As usual Eric cries, “THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING, THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING!!”

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