Yesterday I watched a media conference at which the US Dept of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the final rules associated with “meaningful use”. Each of the five speakers used personal stories to illustrate the importance of electronic health records, starting with the HHS Secretary who related her experiences taking a friend to the emergency department and ending with an impassioned plea for patient access to their personal health information by a widow who literally fought with the healthcare system to get care for her dying husband. Three of the presenters were medical doctors who are now in positions of significant authority and had experienced the transition from paper to electronic records firsthand.
What struck me most about the media conference was that while each presenter’s arguments stood on their own merit, they all fit together in way that the whole was greater than the sum of the parts. There were clearly common themes that tied the presentations together, both in terms of the words that they used and the techniques they used to convey their message. One of the best collection of related presentations / speeches that I have witnessed in quite some time.
I encourage anyone who in some way or other is trying to convince others about the value of digitizing our healthcare system to watch the HHS presentation. It offers a good example of how the value of electronic records can be explained in simple terms and will leave you wondering how anyone might consider not moving forward aggressively to digitize our healthcare system.