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A Health Affairs article written by five Republican senators says their 2013 question of what value Americans have received in return for their $35 billion HITECH investment hasn’t been answered. They say EHRs “are not meaningful for physicians,” interoperability remains elusive, the $12.5 billion CBO-predicted EHR savings haven’t been realized, and ONC’s interoperability roadmap doesn’t provide enough specific details for vendors to work from. It criticizes ONC for releasing its interoperability roadmap well after Stage 2, which “was promised to be the stage when health providers were interoperable.” The article finishes on a slightly positive note in complimenting Karen DeSalvo:

In listening to the concerns from EHR vendors and EHR users from across the care continuum, ONC has taken an important turn under the leadership of Dr. Karen DeSalvo. The previous ONC leadership did not understand the difficulty and enormity of creating government-approved products in a market that struggled to exist before government incentives arrived. As a result, our nation’s health care providers are stuck with the huge cost of unwieldy systems trying to conform to government mandates. They are stuck adopting EHR systems which don’t fit into their established workflows. And if they actually want to share their patients’ data, they are stuck with even more costs imposed by vendors. At the center of all this is the patient who must sit quietly in the exam room looking at her physician use a computer instead of directly talking with her, who likely has seen no better access to her own data, and who is struggling to understand why her doctor has such a difficult time getting her lab results.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

I was thinking today about the kind of reader who probably shouldn’t be reading HIStalk because I won’t be able to meet their expectations. I’m not offended by losing readers who:

  • Assume there’s a direct relationship with how important a story is and how much space is used to describe it.
  • Need repeated mentions of the same story over several days, with no new information, to make sure they understand they should pay attention to it.
  • Enjoy catchy headlines (especially those click-desperate, frothy ones that include a number as in a “listicle”) with cartoonish action verbs that sit atop stories that fail to deliver anything insightful.
  • Don’t mind stories that fail to link to the source document with the hopes you’ll mistake the story as containing original reporting.
  • Require pictures even if they have nothing to do with the story, like generic shots of stethoscopes or smart phones, or who value slick design over substance.
  • Are convinced that keeping up with the industry requires spending a lot of time each day reading several sites.
  • Enjoy reading opinion pieces written by people who have never worked in either health IT or healthcare.

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