Dr. Halamka addresses a couple good points with his presentation, as always and he is also very good with keeping up updated on his blog as well. One topic I agree with and I think any physician does is to “maximize the ease of use”. I had one intern tell me he had to learn 5 different systems at 5 different hospitals, so again having something somewhat uniform or familiar for the end users could really be of help.
The privacy issues he discusses are important too, as when you look at the potential fines, they are big and basically could put a practice right out of business, again making the case for not having to set up servers and email exchanges at doctor’s offices and the fact that even with reimbursement, not many have 40k sitting around in their bank accounts for the initial set up. The common user interface is a open source code project built by Microsoft that could offer relief with the design of user interfaces, complete with Silverlight and dynamic screens to keep the amount of clicking down a minimum and provide screens that would be either the same or very similar at all facilities. BD
Moving the nation to electronic health records could save millions of dollars, simplify the health-care system and create as many as 50,000 new jobs, though it will be a tough journey to get there, Harvard Medical School CIO John Halamka said today.
Halamka, the keynote speaker at the sixth annual SAS Healthcare and Life Sciences Executive Conference, held Wednesday and Thursday at SAS’ headquarters in Cary, was discussing the 400 pages of federal stimulus legislation related to electronic health records and key issues facing the health-care and information technology industries.
At the same time, technology needs to be developed to maximize ease of use for physicians.
“Putting servers and exchanges into doctors offices is not going to work,” Halamka said, suggesting a better model is using regional health-care information technology centers that use cloud computing systems to work with doctors. Massachusetts, for example, will use a cloud computing center to manage the state’s electronic health records. That system should be up and running by the end of 2010.
And still to be determined is the issue of privacy. Under current federal regulations, privacy breaches that affect 500 or more patients fall under Federal Trade Commission regulations and come with fines ranging from $25,000 to $1.5 million, depending on whether the action was accidental or intentional.
On top of that, doctors not only have to notify patients of the leak, but also the prominent news source for the region.
“What is the value of doing this if there are such stringent rules and penalties?,” Halamka asked rhetorically.