By Peggy Salvatore
Last week, the eHealth Initiative officially launched its 2020 Roadmap initiative to “enable coordinated efforts by public and private sector organizations to transform care delivery through data exchange and health information technology,” its website states.
Its foci: interoperability, clinical motivators and incentives and data access and use. Sound familiar?
The forces behind it are formidable. It includes players like Booz Allen Hamilton, Siemens, Accenture and United Healthcare, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and the Mayo Clinic. And its stated purpose:
“Since the passage of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act and the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a tremendous amount of money, time and resources has been invested into optimizing the healthcare system in the U.S. However, many stakeholder groups are questioning the direction in which the public and private sectors are currently heading and raising concerns about the slow pace of improving the quality of care and achieving reductions. As we look ahead to the next five years, it is critical to reexamine the recent polity, innovation and technology efforts and identify the best path forward toward health system delivery transformation.”
Dismantling of Meaningful Use
The introduction of the Roadmap coincides with the apparent, but not declared, dismantling of the Meaningful Use efforts of the Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT. What the eHealth Inititaive people seem to be saying in fairly bold and obvious language, is that what the government under the auspices of HHS been doing to coordinate and encourage the uptake and implementation of a national electronic patient record system has not been working. The system is still fragmented, and it cost us a fortune to go down a thousand different roads at varying rates of speed, not all headed toward the goal.
My read on the Roadmap initiative is that it is an attempt by powerful and frustrated forces to reassess what has been put in place, find a common language and path to move forward, untangle the harried, put the emerged leaders at the head of the pack, and carry on.
ONCHIT has already declared that it is putting together a 10-year plan, and it appears to coordinate with the Roadmap. I’m not a betting woman, but I’ll wager that the eHealth Initiative will be a major player in refocusing the national efforts toward putting in place a workable, affordable plan that allows all the players to achieve mastery of the technology in a way that is meaningful to patients and the people who care for them.