US EHR Strategy

I have been watching with great interest the development of the US EHR strategy, spurred, in large part, by stimulus funding through the HITECH.  I recently came across a succinct and insightful summary of this strategy written by John Glaser,  VP and CIO at Partners Healthcare in Boston and soon to be CEO at Siemens Health.  What I thought was particularly insightful and perhaps even profound was Mr. Glaser’s views on the uncertainity associated with the US strategy:

“It is not possible to launch this much activity of this scope with this many actors and have great certainty about the outcome. This uncertainty will be magnified by the evolving actions of the private sector—hospitals, health plans, suppliers and others that are engaging in a diverse array of often very imaginative implementation activities.

The implementation plans are good plans. Change of this magnitude will bring very real progress, but it will also bring a period of time that is likely to be bumpy.

The federal electronic health record strategy has been formed, and the country is at the start of its implementation. The strategy is ambitious, multifaceted and sophisticated. This journey faces many uncertainties and will not be easy. However, the strategy has a high likelihood of causing many health care organizations to make meaningful use of EHRs and improving the health care delivered in this country.”

Sometimes it is simply not possible to predict with any accuracy how change will play itself and being too prescriptive is a recipe for disaster.  I think that the US approach will generate sufficient activity that there will more successes than failures and a natural momentum will be created that will carry the eHealth agenda forward in that country.


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