January 20, 2011, WASHINGTON, D.C. — The eHealth Initiative’s two-day annual conference, “Turning Policy Into Action”, wrapped up on Thursday with keynote speeches by Dr. David Blumenthal, the National Coordinator for Health IT, and Cokie Roberts, ABC Congressional Correspondent and Senior News Analyst for National Public Radio.
“Welcome to the Era of Meaningful Use,” Blumenthal greeted attendees, noting thatregistration for Meaningful Use incentives had opened on Jan. 3. “The Era of Meaningful Use is not the end of our journey, though, it is just the beginning. We still have an enormous amount of work and education to do.”
“I think the Meaningful Use Era and the Meaningful Use concept provide a device for reaching consensus on the optimal use of information for health care improvement, both in quality and efficiency. It provides a process for us to hold ourselves accountable.”
On Jan. 14, Blumenthal’s office released a new survey that showed that 81 percent of hospitals and 41 percent of practices plan to apply for Meaningful Use incentive payments.
Roberts, following Blumenthal, and speaking as a journalist, a family caregiver and a cancer survivor, assured attendees that despite the news coverage of Republican opposition to health reform, the current repeal effort in Congress would not succeed.
Roberts noted that among Democrats and Republicans debating the issue, “[Supporting health IT] seems to be the only thing they can agree on.”
The conference launched eHI into its tenth year of operation in Washington, anddiscussions of rapidly evolving Health Information Exchanges, Accountable Care Organizations and Meaningful Use requirements highlighted how far the field and the country have come on health IT priorities and progress in the last decade.
“We are standing at a crossroads in 2011, and our conference highlighted the progress so far, as well as the challenges we face,” said Jennifer Covich Bordenick, Chief Executive Officer of the eHealth Initiative. “The legislation has been passed. The first regulations have been issued. Now we are turning to the same issue we have been grappling with for the last decade: the adoption and use of health information technology to improve the quality, safety and efficiency of health care in the U.S.
“In the coming year, the nation will be watching our progress to see if we will set a new global precedent for successful integration of IT into health care, or whether we will run into some of the same challenges that have plagued aggressive health IT efforts in Canada, the United Kingdom, and other pioneering countries. I am reassured though, after spending two days talking to the leading experts and implementers in this country: if money, expertise and commitment are adequate inputs, we will succeed in our effort to create a nationwide system of health information technology and information exchange.”
About the eHealth Initiative: The eHealth Initiative (eHI) is a Washington D.C.-based, independent, non-profit organization whose mission is to drive improvements in the quality, safety, and efficiency of healthcare through information and information technology.
Working with its 210 member organizations, eHI works to create a world where consumers, health care providers, and those responsible for population health will have readyaccess to timely, relevant, reliable and secure information and services through an interconnected, electronic health information infrastructure to support better health and healthcare. www.ehealthinitiative.org<http://www.ehealthinitiative.org>.