Federal efforts to boost health IT adoption must be coordinated with national health reform plans to achieve health care improvements and cost reductions, according to three not-for-profit groups, Healthcare IT News reports (Hardy, Healthcare IT News, 7/15).
On Wednesday, the Markle Foundation, the Center for American Progress and the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform at the Brookings Institution hosted a forum of industry policy leaders on the need for health IT investments under the federal stimulus package to support broader reform to improve health outcomes and curb rising health care costs (Markle release, 7/15).
Markle President Zoe Baird said, "Health reform and health IT investments will protect all Americans only if we set concrete health improvement targets and identify the specific costs to be controlled."
Mark McClellan -- director of the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform and the Leonard D. Schaeffer chair of health policy studies at the Brookings Institution -- said, "By tying support for health IT directly to achieving these quality and cost improvements, the new health IT payments can be a critical step toward achieving this vision."
The three groups urged public- and private-sector industry leaders to move toward achieving improvement goals outlined by an advisory group to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT. The goals include:
- Preventing one million heart attacks and strokes;
- Reducing the rate of medical errors, preventable hospitalizations and racial/ethnic disparities in diabetes by 50%; and
- Providing patients with easy access to their health information.
The groups also proposed adding two 2015 goals aimed at addressing rising health costs:
- Identifying duplicative health care services and reducing them by 50%; and
- Reducing the amount of time physicians spend on administrative tasks (Healthcare IT News, 7/15).
On behalf of a broad range of groups, the three not-for-profit organizations submitted a collaborative comment to HHS recommending that the criteria for the federal stimulus package's health IT subsidies to health care providers be structured in a way that is most likely to achieve the health care improvement and cost-cutting goals (Markle release, 7/15).