Key elements of health reform already baked-in

Key elements of health reform already baked-in

Summary: The real fears of reform opponents -- giant databases turning your private pain into useful data -- are already being realized.


Key elements of health reform are already baked into the system through the stimulus' HITECH Act.

If you think technology can reduce costs, improve care, and empower patients, or if you think it will kill privacy, turn you into a number and lead to rationing, the debate is over and implementation has begun.

While some politicians are facing angry mobs, speaking before pre-screened allies or heading for the hills, others are acting like the Governors of Vermont and Tennessee, looking to see how they can get a taste of that sweet, sweet health IT stimulus cash.

Republican Jim Douglas (above, from his Web site) and Democrat Phil Bredesen were doing this at the twice-yearly meeting of the State Alliance for E-Health, a group formed by the National Governors Association to push automation.

What critics call comparative effectiveness is termed here, simply, best practices. The group's aim is to help states set up Health Information Exchanges (HIEs), through which Electronic Health Records (EHRs) can be moved electronically, and then to link these HIEs among the states.

Recommendations passed last year should be familiar to all regular readers here:

Promoting standards-based health information technology (HIT) adoption and use, and enabling bi-directional electronic data exchange that supports improved quality outcomes for clinical care and public health within and across states.

Meanwhile the Institute for Health Technology Transformation, consisting of health IT vendors, lawyers and lobbyists, is preparing to host a town hall next month in New York with two board members, without a deather or union thug in sight.

Instead financial guru Christopher Kersey of Camden Partners and political pro David Farber of Patton Boggs will be telling an audience of financial experts how they can get their hands on some of that $19.2 billion in HITECH money the Administration and Congress have already put on the table.

The result of this is going to be that within several years most health records will be electronic, they will be portable, and the data on them will be aggregated to help doctors know what treatments are most cost-effective.

Something worth thinking about as the so-called "health reform" circus continues. That debate is all about who pays for care and how many will get it. The real fears of reform opponents -- giant databases turning your private pain into useful data -- are already being realized.

Topics: Health, CXO, IT Employment

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • maybe you should read the bill ....

    before writing about it, it has some serious issues beyond cost.
    • No such thing as "the bill"

      There are three bills that have been passed out of
      committee, two in the House and one in the Senate.
  • "giant databases turning your private pain into useful data"

    While there are certainly many that misunderstand
    Health IT and how EHRs and HIEs will transform
    healthcare there will NOT be "giant databases turning
    your private pain into useful data."
    There will be many smaller databases connected to
    share information ;-)
    One important concern that many have is keeping this
    data under the control of patients. I encourage you to
    see the Health Data Rights web site and sign the

  • RE: Key elements of health reform already baked-in

    The White House has turned to its favorite tool ? the Internet ? to bolster President Barack Obama's push for health care overhaul and challenge misconceptions about Democratic plans. So if you are a chronic worrywarts that won't stop bellyaching about health care reform ? prepare for a Reality Check. The reality check has been published by the website Reality Check, which is part of the Obama administrations' PR department. The issues it addresses are the complaints of the naysayers ? like rationing, which won't happen, or seniors getting euthanized. Which can't happen, either ? it's only legal in a few states, and can't be even suggested by a physician unless asked specifically by the patient. A lot of squawking it going to continue over the health care debate, and it appears that nothing, Reality Check testimonials from White House officials, reading the bill itself, or <a rev="vote for" title="Reality Check Web Site Debunks Health Care Reform Myths" href=" ">cheap loans</a>, will make the conspiracy theorists pipe down.
    • Doubtful

      The only thing that is going to cause a bill to
      pass is for those who need and want health
      reform to demand it and overcome, with numbers,
      the nay-sayers now dominating the debate.

      It is possible that the Senate Finance Committee
      will pass a bill with a "co-op" provision that
      does nothing to break local insurance
      monopolies, and if it does I'm all for taking
      the Republican idea of letting companies compete
      across state lines. But I know the result of
      that will be an even smaller number of big
      insurance companies.