The thriving provider based healthcare IT industry is no longer news. The history and evolution of the American healthcare system is unique. In 2009, Congress agreed that better information technology was needed and approved a $20B stimulus under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The technology being deployed is expected to result in better patient outcomes. Medicare/Medicaid “carrots” and “sticks” were tied to “Meaningful Use (MU)” criteria. We are now in Stage 2 and it is not getting any easier.
However, that stimulus is being consumed and time is running out. But, providers have spent far more than $20B and they are running out of margin and time. The provider sector remains a highly fragmented delivery system of primary, acute and post-acute caregivers. This sector is mostly nonprofit and historically local and/or regional in nature.
In my engagement with leaders in and around health IT, I’m fortunate to have access to some of the best thinking and leadership in the industry. Part of my responsibility of with this publication is to collate and collect some of what I consider to be the best thought leadership in health IT and publish it for anyone to read.
In my “travels,” I recently was introduced to Dr. Ed Fotsch, CEO of PDR Network, an organization that provides innovative products and services that benefit bio/pharmaceutical manufacturers, electronic health record (EHR) and ePrescribing vendors. Hopefully, I’ll be able to feature him in the near future in a HIT Thought Leadership Highlight.
Guest post by Dr. Andrew Agwunobi, leader of the hospital performance improvement practice at Berkeley Research Group.
Four healthcare reform elements are driving hospital systems to recreate themselves through buying physician groups, attempting to dramatically improve the quality and costs of care, and merging with other hospital systems. These are 1) the new Medicare readmissions payment policy, 2) the Medicare and Medicaid payment bundling pilots, 3) Medicare’s decision to stop paying for hospital acquired conditions, and 4) the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).
A fascinating recent report from the HealthLeaders about the supposed scads of errors being associated with HIT, as health systems transition to the age of electronic records. According to the report that features the results of a recent study by ECRI Institute’s Patient Safety Organization, some of the errors “are causing harm and in so many serious ways, providers are only now beginning to understand the scope.”
For example, during the 2012 study at 36 participating hospitals, computer programs truncated dosage fields leading to morphine-caused respiratory arrest; lab test and transplant surgery records sometimes didn’t talk to each other, leading to organ rejection and patient death; and an electronic systems’ misinterpretation of the time “midnight” meant an infant received antibiotics one dangerous day too late.