ONC chief says majority of providers will be doing work electronically by next year

The results of the health IT incentive program aimed at driving the adoption of electronic health records by hospitals and physicians have been "breathtaking," Farzad Mostashari, MD, asserted in his keynote address at HIMSS12 on Feb 23. "We've made more progress in two years than we've made in 20," said Mostashari, national coordinator for health information technology.

He predicted that by next year, the majority of care providers would be doing their work electronically – and not on paper.

“Medicare is leading, but so are the states, so are the private health plans,” he said. “We want to reduce readmissions – there’s an intervention for that. There are interventions for improving quality and they are all part of meaningful use. Making meaningful use of meaningful use can be the road for providers to thrive.

"We’re on track to exceed 100,000 providers a year,” he said, about physicians attesting to the meaningful use of health IT.

Interoperability would be the key to true success, though, and Mostashari has said that meaningful Stage 2 is bullish on interoperability.

In his keynote Mostashari advocated for entwining health IT to create a “triple strand of DNA” with payment reform and patient empowerment.

But even with all the successes, he said, there is still much left to be done.

“We’re learning, we’ve got a lot of work to do," he said. While there’s agreement that population health is important, for instance, “how do you achieve it? We still don’t have quality measures that make the best of EHRs. There’s a lot of education and guidance we still need on privacy and security.”

He suggested better coordination is necessary among government entities – ONC, DOD, MHS, ARRQ, CMS – to name a few.

“Change takes time,” he said. “Change takes innovation. It takes sustained will. We’re on the right track to make meaningful use of meaningful use. We will be steadfast partners with you on this mission.”

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