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HIT: One Step at a Time

Posted Mar 21 2009 3:40pm

I' ll end my review of the Health Affairs Perspectives with Dr. Mark Frisse' s urging that we take one step at a time  and focus on a lim ited set of near-term objectives and a found ation that will be ess ential for reaping long-t erm benefits.  He points o ut that the cost of techno logy is often the focal poi nt, however, the real det erminants of success inclu de the local culture, regi onal policies, organization al commitment, care transformation objectiv es and the availability o f skilled personnel. 

And, as stated previously, technologies poorly applied will simply render our current delivery system "inefficient, faster".  Technology is a tool that should be applied to transform care to meet the needs of people.  For example, making available laboratory and prescription drug history data at the point of care is an urgent priority, but the clinical labs and coalitions of pharmacies and pharmacy benefit managers have not made much progress toward making this information available.  An affordable means of obtaining this data consistently must be found.

I like the idea of shifting incentive strategies away from third-party case managers to physicians and pharmacists.  I also agree that funding should be a allocated to support interstate collaboration, simplification and substantive change using real-time systems.

"Public reflection is not a retreat from improved heatlh; rather, it assures cautious and deliberate progress toward a more promising future."  I' m a believer in the power of reflection as a way of moving forward in a much more confident way.  Dr. Frisse is just reminding us of the power of this tool on a national level.

Lets not automate systems for the sake of automation!  Lets really transform care for the patient and society as a whole!

Note:   I hope you noticed that the three gentlemen I' ve highlighted are physicians - the other person at the point of care with the patient.  We are fortunate to have so many committed physicians (these and many others) involved in health information exchange.  Their insight and partnership with the rest of the disciplines (information technologists, nurses, pharmacists, administrators and many others) only makes us stronger.

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