About 7 years ago, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act was implemented, investing $30 billion in electronic health records.
The goal was pursuit of "meaningful use" of these EHRs and EMRs, not simply implementation. And there was a "triple aim" of affecting care experiences, population health, and per-capita costs.
A recent Commonwealth Fund report interviewed 47 national leaders and stakeholders and gathered some findings about the success of the HITECH Act. Specifically, they looked at the ways that the Act has and has not affected these triple-aim goals -- and what that means for healthcare moving forward.
Since our colleagues are so deeply affected by this act, and since telemedicine has been a key part of the way meaningful use is pursued at many institutions, we've put together some of the most crucial parts of the report.
Key findings about HITECH's EMR and EHR implementation, and the opportunity (and need) for telemedicine as a complement:
1. EHR systems do not adequately meet most clinical or operational needs. There were high hopes for the implementation of EMRs and EHRs, but the truth is that they are good tools for storing patient information, but are not sufficient for supporting better or more efficient care. We see telemedicine as one key way to complement EMRs and EHRs and address those clinical and operational needs.
2. There needs to be better reward for the value, rather than the volume, of care. If anything, EMRs and EHRs do a great job recording how much happened, but not supporting high-value care.
3. The "triple aim" has not been as successful as the dissemination of EMRs/EHRs.
4. EHRs can't really lower costs -- but telemedicine can. As the report summarizes, what is needed now are "clinical decision support systems that can encourage best practice, promote shared decision-making and reduce the variation of care provided." In other words, what we need now are some tools that support good healthcare collaboration.
If you want to learn how hybrid store-and-forward telemedicine can support HITECH, telemedicine, and decreased costs, download our free ebook: