Implementation Stage of HIT Movement Will Be 'Tough,' Mostashari Tells Industry

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The health information technology industry has a “tough time ahead” as it moves from the planning and design stages for health IT programs to the “intense phase of implementation,” HIT National Coordinator Farzad Mostashari said at a briefing April 26.

Speaking at the Bipartisan Policy Center's briefing on its new Health Information Technology Initiative, Mostashari said that even though the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and the HIT industry have made great progress over the past two years, the goals of better care, improved quality, and reduced cost for health care delivery remain at the forefront of the health IT adoption efforts.

Currently, ONC's workgroup on “meaningful use” is drafting criteria for Stage 2 of the Medicare and Medicaid meaningful use incentive programs for electronic health records.

According to Mostashari, moving forward, the health IT industry will need the private marketplace to drive innovation, while the government does the “minimum necessary” to keep the movements aligned, such as setting regulations for standards.

Mostashari served as deputy national coordinator under former National Coordinator David Blumenthal, who announced Feb. 3 he would be leaving the post to return to his academic position at Harvard University.

Focus on Collaboration, Privacy.

Former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), leader of the Bipartisan Policy Center's health care initiative, suggested that ONC also remain focused on greater collaboration and greater transparency for health IT, while former Sen. Robert F. Bennett (R-Utah), co-leader of the project, requested greater efforts to ensure privacy, security, and confidentiality of personal health information.

The Bipartisan Policy Center's health IT initiative was created to help health care leaders, particularly those operating at the state level, effectively align efforts and leverage health IT to support their goals to resolve health system problems, Janet Marchibroda, chair of the HIT initiative, said.

In particular, the group's goals with regard to health IT include:

• identifying health IT strategies currently being used by states as they develop and launch health insurance exchanges;

• defining principles, opportunities, and the primary health IT capabilities needed to support new care delivery models emerging from reform efforts, such as accountable care organizations and the patient-centered medical home; and

• analyzing access to care in rural and underserved areas, including Indian reservations, to disseminate best practices for using health IT and telehealth to improve access to and quality of care, according to the initiative's website.

The HIT initiative plans to release a report June 2 that will highlight the health IT progress within the public and private sectors and identify opportunities for leveraging HIT investments to support delivery system, payment, and insurance reforms, Marchibroda said.

Information on the Bipartisan Policy Center's Health IT initiative is available at