I am listening live to a media conference at which the US Dept of Health and Human Services is announcing the final “meaningful use” standards. Two of the leaders speaking at this conference are the new director of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Dr. Donald Berwick, and the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, Dr. David Blumenthal. Both men are medical doctors and both spoke to the benefits of electronic health records based on their own personal experience. Joining them was the US surgeon general, Dr. Regina Benjamin, who also spoke to her experience using electronic health records.
As I have argued in past blog posts, I think that we need physicians in very senior leadership positions in Canadian eHealth organizations such as Infoway and eHealth Ontario. As Dr. Blumenthal demonstrated at the eHealth 2010 conference in Vancouver and again today at the HHS media conference, a physician who has made the transition from paper to electronic systems has tremendous credibility when they speak about the benefits and challenges associated with this transition. I urge Canadian eHealth organizations to listen to a recording of today’s HHS media conference to hear for themselves how the compelling personal anecdotes of three high profile US healthcare leaders were used to highlight the benefits of electronic health records.
UPDATE: You can catch a replay of the media conference here.