Thursday, March 25, 2010

Dr. David Blumenthal at HIMSS

National Coordinator for Health Information Technology David Blumenthal, MD, MPP, presented the keynote address, "Becoming a Meaningful User of Health IT: Moving Toward a New Level of Professionalism in Healthcare," on Wednesday, March 3 during the 2010 Annual HIMSS Conference & Exhibition in Atlanta, Georgia. As a practicing primary care physician and leading national healthcare policy expert, Dr. Blumenthal shared his thoughts about ONC’s strategic efforts to advance rapid adoption and the meaningful use of health IT. Blumenthal said “about 10 years ago an electronic health record landed on my desk courtesy of my employer. I was trained with paper, I was comfortable with paper, I liked my prescription pad … I didn’t really see the need to change." But, “gradually, slowly, I learned that the EHR was making me a better doctor … I came to understand that information is the lifeblood of healthcare, and Health IT is destined to be the circulatory system.”

Some of the top themes of Dr. Blumenthal’s Keynote Address were:

  • Professionalism – Science and experience support the notion that the ability to use and move information will become a core professional attribute for clinical professionals
  • Innovation – Human ingenuity will support advancements needed to keep pace with changes on healthcare landscape
  • Future of Health IT – EHRs will becomes as much a part of the fabric of medicine as stethescopes, EKGs, and MRIs.
  • Regulation – Four regulations released since January 2010 are forming the foundation of the Nationwide Health Information Network (fNHIN): the Meaningful Use NPRM, Standards and Certification Criteria IFR, HHS Certification Process NPRM, and Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA)

He was enthusiastically received by the crowd at HIMSS and he told us, "You have been leaders and we want you to continue to be leaders and we will follow your lead."

Dr. Blumenthal noted that the ONC's focus soon will shift from policy to implementation. He recognized implementing the HITECH provisions of ARRA "is a huge job" and said that his office will "have to grow considerably to do it effectively." He said, "As I look back and look ahead at this Olympic time, I sometimes see us as either speed skating or downhill slalom. We have to move fast, but we can't miss a turn."

*Dr. Blumenthal is announced about 19 minutes into the video