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All Things HIT

Jun 22 2010   1:35PM GMT

Health Reform and HITECH: More than distant cousins!

Posted by: AllinHIT
Health Reform

I recently attended a “Power Breakfast”, on Health Reform, sponsored by the local Business Journal, for educating the local business community.  The 4 person panel included one local Hospital executive, and a local business owner, who has one of the largest medical billing operations, in the State.  In a past life, I worked closely with this biller, managing a PM VAR channel, of which they were a reseller.  The other panel members, not relevant to this blog, had legal backgrounds in healthcare. I listened for 45 minutes on what it means for an estimated 32 million patients becoming a part of the healthcare delivery system, due to health reform.  I listened to the ramifications of bringing this many more patients, with their silos of information into healthcare. I listened to the legal ramifications of the bill, increasing of premiums for business owners, tort reform wasn’t addressed and should of been …blah blah blah!

What I didn’t hear was the impact of ARRA/HITECH provisions, the future of our delivery system with programs like medical homes, Accountable Care Organizations, and how we are moving towards a quality model. Matter of fact, EHR’s, PHR’s, HITECH, Meaningful Use, and ALL THINGS HIT, were never even mentioned! Of course, being the advocate and educator I am, I wanted to be the first person to ask a question during Q&A, and I was!  I gave a brief explaination of HITECH, and its possible effect on the issues discussed. I addressed the panel, stating their omission of HITECH and the meaningful use of the technology it represents, is crucial when looking at health reform. These two are more than distant cousins, but more like faternal twins.

The hospital executive, recognized this error and quickly agreed and clarified its importance, mentioning what his hospital is doing in those areas (since, I’ve been invited, and have accepted, an invitation to meet with them).  I then asked the biller, my old compatriot, how does she feel about HITECH? How will it effect her business as a biller? Her answer was surprising to me.  She stated, and I’m paraphrasing, “my physician clients will not adopt the technology because of all the “issues around implementation, and EHR’s not really doing what they suppose too”!  Wow, I quickly wondered if I could be looking at a dinosaur, trying not be extinct!

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