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May 09, 2006

National Health IT Week


I don't think this National Health IT Week is so much about all sectors of medical informatics as it is about public access to online resources to promote wellness programs or just healthcare policy in general. (I could be wrong.)

There is a National Health It Day event planned, with Senator Kennedy, Newt Gingrich, Drs. Brailer and McClellan speaking. But it is also interesting to see IBM represented by their Director of Wellness. There is a push by major companies to seek to drive down healthcare costs by providing their employees with online resources to help them self-monitor their lifestyles and be compliant with the usually recommended screening modalities.

Here's one of the sessions:

Driving Down Healthcare Costs – Purchasers Who Are Innovating:
      UPS, IBM, Pitney Bowes, and General Motors – together represent a sizeable percentage of the US workforce.  Each of these firms are working to decrease the cost of care  while simultaneously improving the quality of care.  Learn about their work in outcome-based  benefits design, employee incentives, pay for performance, and pay for use.

NewthillaryI really don't know about the "One Voice. One Vision." thing either. There is certainly bipartisan support for these initiatives as evidence by the press conferences you've seen with Hillary Clinton and Newt Gingrich or Bill Frist.

This photo with Hillary Clinton and Bill Frist marked their announcement of Health Technology to Enhance Quality Act of 2005. Not to overstate the obvious, but the main stumbling block is not securing this unified political will, but to ensure that the funding is available for hospitals and clinics to invest in these systems upfront in order to realize the benefits and savings that will come over time.



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