Is Lack of Coordination Hurting Health IT?

Noting a tension between "what's ideal and what's practical," attendees of the Health Information Technology Summit say misaligned financial incentives and a lack of integrated, easy-to-use products continue to stymie health IT adoption.

Attendees of last weekends Health Information Technology Summit contacted by said they came away convinced that efforts to implement widespread health IT are getting off to a solid start. They also agreed on some chief barriers to implementing health IT: misaligned financial incentives and a lack of integrated, easy-to-use products.

More than 800 people representing vendors, health care providers and public health officials attended the Health Information Technology Summit, held in Washington.

The summit featured high-profile speakers including David Brailer, national health IT coordinator; Mark McClellan, administrator at CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services); and Carolyn M. Clancy, director of AHRQ ( Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality). The conference was organized by eHI (eHealth Initiative), a nonprofit, multi-stakeholder organization.

Cathey Lawson, an account executive at Initiate Systems Inc., attended a similar conference in July, which at the time represented Brailers most significant appearance since being appointed to office.

Though overarching initiatives were announced at the time, media reports criticized the details as too vague. Initiate Systems provides software and systems to manage patient and provider identities.

Lawson said that when she heard large companies endorsing the initiatives in July, she wondered whether it was a cheerleading session or a viable plan. Now, shes decided on the latter. "Its starting to take on the aspect not just of realness but of progress," she said.

Rich Gliklich, CEO of Outcome Inc., who spoke at a Saturday morning panel on how to improve outcomes by engaging patients and consumers, agreed but acknowledged some growing pains.

"A lot is happening in the e-health space; not all of it is coordinated," Gliklich said. "Theres an intent but still a struggle to get to common standards. Theres still a tension in whats ideal and whats practical."

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