President Barack Obama's plan to invest $25 billion in health care IT initiatives could cause a technological gap between large and small health care operations and affect the country's quality of care, according to participants at the 2009 Health Information Technology Conference of the Massachusetts Health Data Consortium. Rather than giving providers incentive money for complying with health IT requirements, one expert suggested the funds go to help link regional health IT extension centers that exchange data and work to improve quality care.
Google is working with IBM on a service that allows patients to use IBM's software to upload information from home-health monitoring devices to their personal medical records in Google Health. The companies hope that the collaboration will help boost the use of portable devices and online systems to monitor diabetes and other chronic ailments.
CIOs need to prepare for a future in which a patient's EMR contains a full family history and a complete genome report, according to a report from Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation CIO Dale Sanders and a project manager with Northwestern University's Department of Surgery. The report recommends that health care providers make use of family history tools and start adapting their lab information systems to handle genetic data.
Collaboration technology tools enable employees to work together more closely, even in off hours and in organizations that are geographically dispersed. Many health care organizations have streamlined communication through the use of instant messaging and shared work spaces.
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology says it has more funding for up to 10 eligible participants to test data-exchange tools. "What we're expecting to get out of the pilots is not just demonstrations, but products that actually work," said an ONC program analyst. Applications are due March 17 and more information can be found here.