Monday, June 10, 2013

Health Care Innovation

In his May 26 column, “Obamacare’s Other Surprise,” Thomas L. Friedman discusses how data that support medical decision-making and collaboration, dovetailing with new tools in the Affordable Care Act, are spurring the innovation necessary to deliver improved health care for more people at affordable prices.
This is just another example of how public policy is driving a smarter health care system focused on the quality of care, not the quantity of care delivered. That means increasing transparency and accountability, avoiding costly mistakes and readmissions, keeping patients healthy, and enabling new payment and care delivery models, like accountable care organizations, to work.
Last week, we reached an important milestone in the adoption of health information technology, which is a critical underpinning to this larger strategy.
More than half of all doctors and other eligible providers and nearly 80 percent of hospitals are using electronic health records to improve patient care — an increase of at least 200 percent since 2008.
There is much work yet to be done to change the habits of health care, and to continue the push toward secure information sharing, but by using policy to leverage market-based innovation, we are playing to America’s greatest strength to solve our most pressing problems.
Washington, May 28, 2013
The writer is national coordinator for health information technology for the Health and Human Services Department.
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