Government Intervention Stifling Growth of Health Information Technology
Patients and Providers Should Guide Growth of Tech: NCPA
February 18, 2015
The flood of government money for implementation of electronic health records was a mistake that should not be repeated, according to a new report by National Center for Policy Analysis Senior Fellow John R. Graham.
“The Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT has proposed a breathtakingly ambitious 10-year strategic plan,” says Graham. “This comes five years after a 5-year plan that invested $30 billion taxpayer dollars in Electronic Health Records (EHRs) that do not communicate effectively with each other, frustrate doctors by making them type meaningless data into computers instead of diagnosing and treating patients, and have inhibited true innovation in health information technology.”
In 2009, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that for $30 billion, 70 percent of hospitals and 90 percent of physicians would adopt EHRs by 2019. However, these goals look increasingly unlikely. According to an ONC report:
In 2013, 59 percent of hospitals and 48 percent of physicians had at least a basic EHR system.
As of June 2014, 75 percent of the nation’s eligible professionals and 92 percent of eligible hospitals had received payments under the EHR incentive programs.
The CMS only has about $5 billion of its $30 billion left to spend.
“These government-mandated Electronic Health Records have likely resulted in a health IT environment less effective than had the government not intervened,” says Graham. “Congress should view this 10-year strategic plan with skepticism, and return the ONC to its original role of ‘coordinator’ of health IT, not its financier, regulator, and overseer.”