Will the push for Electronic Medical Records be the 2010 version of the global warming hysteria of just 3 years ago?
When Congress passed the Stimulus package in 2009 ($787 Billion, $20 Billion and counting for Health Information Technology), an aggressive plan was enacted to move physicians from paper to computerized medicine. Town Hall meetings served as convenient cover for policymakers to claim that patients and physicians (you remember then, don’t you?) were consulted for advise on healthcare initiatives.
US Healthcare costs $2.5 TRILLION in the United States. That’s about 18% of the total GDP as told us by attending such town hall meetings. Estimates hold that 20% of this cost is waste related to inefficiencies and redundancy. Perhaps the cost of healthcare would not be marketed as so objectionable if the other 82% of the GDP was stripped of its compounding, confusing and almost indescribable waste. I am already apologizing to my six year old for the fiscal mess that lies ahead for her generation.
As healthcare policymakers sought to control US medical data with Health Information Technology (HIT) the scope of the healthcare reform project and its many moving parts became evident. Enter, Regional Health Information Exchanges (HIE). HIE’s serve as a smaller, controlled environments for completing HIT initiatives and pinpoint trends. Does this sound familiar? Consider:
In 2007, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger cited the need to address global warming proclaiming “We cannot wait for the US government to to get its act together on the environment”. Formed was the Western Climate Initiative coalition to beat the Fed to the punch. Since this project has fallen off the front pages, many business members have decided to focus on…business. Now, just substitute the word “healthcare” for “environment” and history repeats itself.
Corporations and business define strategies then estimate timelines. HIT policy seems to have decided to flip that around. Anyone care to predict an outcome? The HIT intentions are admirable and run by good people. But to do something for the sake of “doing something” is rarely advisable. It is wise to anticipate rather than react whenever possible.
Not too long ago, US healthcare, the finest in the world, was made up of the three P’s: patients, physicians and payers. Sadly, this has been replaced by another group of P’s, policymakers, pundits and product pushers.