Outcome provides Web-based tools that automatically customize established treatment guidelines for patient characteristics and help hospitals monitor, report and improve compliance with guidelines for stroke and cardiovascular disease. Nonetheless, he said, the government has created real momentum. "The CMS initiative in e-health has made a huge impact convincing people that they must act in unison to accomplish goals." Lawson said that since efforts to enhance health cares use of IT is endorsed by both political parties, the momentum should continue whatever the outcome of the upcoming presidential election. She added that some physician leaders are making career moves to become more involved in health IT, signaling a belief that the field will expand in scope and importance."Youve got to help the health care delivery system overcome that basic skepticism about sharing data," she said. They need to realize that "it wont save money upfront, but it will in the long run." Such efforts are being encouraged by $139 million in grants from the Department of Health and Human Services. But she said efforts still need more federal funding help, both in demonstration projects and in incentive programs to reward quality. And, she said, these programs need a way to be self-sustaining after the grant funding runs out. Check out eWEEK.coms Health Care Center at http://healthcare.eweek.com for the latest news, views and analysis of technologys impact on health care.
Lorraine Fernandes, senior vice president of Initiate Systems health care practice, seemed most impressed with efforts in data-sharing through some of the regional health information organizations. Their efforts could be used as laboratories to work out legal, competitive, privacy and technology issues.