Hints At HIMSS About Obama's Commitment To Health Care IT

March 2, 2011

Some big guns at HIMSS backed up what we were saying weeks ago: that the longtime bipartisan objective of Health Care IT is unlikely to change despite current political posturing.
Delivering the keynote address, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius addressed the political question mark surrounding various health care IT initiatives head-on. First she reiterated health care IT’s longtime bipartisan support. Then Sebelius delivered a message from Obama: his own commitment to these initiatives would remain firm.
She came armed with strong information to prove it.
In one attention-getting example, Sebelius noted that under Obama, EMR adoption by primary care doctors has increased from 20% to 30%. That’s a significant jump, especially considering we’re barely half way through Obama’s first term.
Sebelius also revealed the administration is keeping close tabs on the Meaningful Use incentives program. She quoted the results from a recent OMB study requested by the administration that revealed four out of five hospitals plan to apply for these incentives, while two out of four physicians plan to. (Side observation…that last number should increase when single and small group practices learn they have some advantages over hospitals in meeting Meaningful Use.)
National Coordinator for Health IT David Blumenthal indirectly addressed another common concern of doctors: are the incentive checks for real? Blumenthal informed the audience checks are already arriving in the mail for many practices, with more on the way.
Stay tuned for more “post-HIMSS posts” this week!
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