Important Events

By M.L. Baker  |  Posted 2004-11-22 Print this article Print

Three important health IT events of 2004: 1. David Brailers appointment as national health IT coordinator may be the most useful thing that President Bush has done on this front. The MD and PhD is incredibly knowledgeable, universally admired and politically astute. His goals for interoperability, grants and public-private collaboration are both reasonable and ambitious.
2. The newly created Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology wont certify its first product for a while, but its work will be essential for stakeholders with competing needs to trust each other.
Click here to read about doctors seeking guidance on electronic medical records. Once the commission has figured out how to award its stamp of approval, gridlock around EHR may start to flow. Physicians will be less worried that massive technology investments will be rendered obsolete. Payers can be convinced that physicians are using health IT effectively and then can be more forthcoming with payments. Vendors can spend less time flying sales and support staff to doctors offices and spend more resources improving products. This rosy picture wont happen automatically or completely, of course, but we should be headed in that direction. 3. An analysis from the nonprofit Markle Foundation clearly laid forth the lack of a credible business case for health IT—as well as an analysis of the policies and practices that stall it. Read more here about the foundations analysis. The report sums up several months collaborative work by heavy hitters in the industry including Brailer, who chaired the committee until his appointment as national health IT czar. The report describes what must happen to make EHRs a net financial gain for physicians. Next Page: The years important trends.

Monya Baker is co-editor of's Health Care Center. She has written for publications including the journal Nature Biotechnology, the Acumen Journal of Sciences and the American Medical Writers Association, among others, and has worked as a consultant with biotechnology companies. A former high school science teacher, Baker holds a bachelor's degree in biology from Carleton College and a master's of education from Harvard.

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