I'm in Washington D.C. attending the 2010 ACPE (American College of Physician Executives) Annual CME Conference. This afternoon, I attended the Leadership Summit breakout session titled, "Meaningful Use: An Update on Healthcare Reform." Before the session began, I had the chance to sit down and have a great conversation with Dr. Harry Greenspun, Chief Medical Officer for Dell Services. To learn more about Harry, click here and make sure to follow him on Twitter (@harrygreenspun). Keep an eye out for his new book.
The session began with a conversation about access to care and health care reform. Since we were in Washington D.C., we spoke about politicians like Ted Kennedy and Bill Clinton. Where and how did they get their medical care? What can we learn from their decisions and how does that information impact the ability for average consumers to access care? We had a lively discussion about healthcare reform, politics, and health information. To achieve better health outcomes, we need to evaluate medical data. That's what "meaningful use" is all about.
Harry also spent a few minutes speaking about sometime called "Value-Based Insurance Design." The discussion returned back to a focus around value (which reminded me of the keynote from this morning by David Cutler). How do we simultaneously improve access, cost, and quality?
If we stop to look at the CMS timeline surrounding the HITECH (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health) Act, we see that we have Stage 1, but we don't have Stages 2 or 3. Where does that put us? If we look at the Medicare and Medicaid incentive programs, we have over $30 billion going out to help hospitals and providers and approximately $15 billion will return from all the penalties.
If we look at some of the specific goals around "meaningful use," we must remember that privacy and security are critical health outcome priorities that should be separated. When it comes to digital security, we've overcome many challenges. However, when it comes to privacy, things get much more complicated. Patients may have health information they don't wish to disclose, but they may not realize the medical implications of not disclosing critical personal health information. Should patients have the power to select specific elements of health data they wish to share with each physician specialist?
We live in a world where other industries are effectively leveraging digital messaging and modern telecommunications technologies, but why is the health care industry so far behind? On one hand, we're required to provide patients with encrypted personal health record data, yet on the other hand, the majority of patients may not know how to effectively access that encrypted information.
We also got into comparing the VA's (Veterans Affairs) VistA CPRS (Computerized Patient Record System) with the DOD's (Department of Defense) ALTA. Questions from the audience focused around health information exchanges (HIEs) and also about software and EHR vendor selection. Harry also spent a few minutes talking about EHR certification, then he talked about Dell's comments on meaningful use. I enjoyed the interactive nature of the discussion as physicians asked questions during the entire session.
You can view Harry's slides and to access some additional health IT information, visit this link:
Click here for highlights from ACPE 2010.
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