Kentucky tries to lead health IT train

CTO is the only major position in the new government that the Obama people have yet to fill. Given that reality it makes sense for states to do their own planning, and to just ask Washington for a check.

Dan Mongiardo, Kentucky Lt. Governor and physicianWith policymakers still convinced (despite the evidence) that IT is the answer to healthcare problems, Kentucky is trying to get ahead of the train.

Under its plan the University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, and Northern Kentucky University will head a $500 million effort to put all the state's medical records online.

Where will the money come from? The federal government's stimulus package, said Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo (above), who is heading the effort. The two big schools would get the bulk of the money. NKU would do the cost-benefit analysis.

Just a side note. Mongiardo was trained as a physician. He often campaigns under the name "Dr. Dan" -- Mongiardo being a bit harsh on sensitive bluegrass ears.

Both the President-elect and HHS Secretary-designate have identified Electronic Health Records (EHRs) as the centerpiece of their economic stimulus and health reform efforts.

The problem is that the industry is not ready to meet the goal. Current systems are highly proprietary, incompatible, and very difficult to use.

Obama advisors like Glen Tullman of Allscripts insist their SaaS solutions can do the job. They can't. Existing infrastructure must be integrated into any solution, and in many cases interoperability standards do not yet exist.

Cutting through all this will require a U.S. CTO with authority to demand compliance and the credibility to force those companies who delay under.

And CTO is the only major position in the new government that the Obama people have yet to fill.

Given that reality it makes sense for states to do their own planning, and to just ask Washington for a check.

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