HHS on EMR Adoption and Paying to Keep People Healthy

Brian Klein | medGadget | October 3, 2011

Over 80,000 providers, as of July 31 of this year, had registered to participate in the meaningful use program, which is a great start. Something like close to 90,000 providers have actually registered to work with the regional extension centers for health IT that are set up around the country—[this effort is] kind of in the spirit of agriculture extension centers at the turn of the 20th century that helped to disseminate new technology to farmers to drive an exponential improvement in the productivity of American farming.

So, it’s still early, obviously, but the early signs are promising. And I would say that meaningful use is just the appetizer when it comes to the incentive to use health IT to improve health and care. The main event is movement from fee-for-service medicine to pay-to-keep-people-healthy model because, in that regime, you have to coordinate care across lots of different providers, you have to keep track of your patients, understanding what care they have and haven’t gotten, and actually identify the gap in care or stitch in time that would save the ER admit or the hospitalization. You’d have to reach beyond the walls of your medical office and engage with folks who have chronic disease to help them actually manage their health. These are things that are impossible without electronic health records and data and IT...