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.