In Retrospect, Meaningful Use transformed healthcare

This evening I was reflecting on how much healthcare IT has changed over my career. I became a CIO the 90s, when our medical records were still largely on paper. My fellow executives would ask me when we would have fully electronic records. My answer would always be that we were 5 years away. In fact that was my answer for 10 years.

I have to admit that the tipping point was the HITECH Act and Meaningful Use. I was critical of that program at the time. I argued that there wasn’t evidence that showed the program objectives were the things that best furthered the goals of the US healthcare system (improved quality and reduced cost). In retrospect, that didn’t matter. The flood of money that Meaningful Use brought to healthcare IT resulted in providers not only meeting the objectives, but  making the changes necessary to finish the transition to fully electronic health records. Because of that, we have more actionable data at our finger tips. That data is used to better manage the care we provide and that patient experience.

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