A new report from eHealth Initiative—an organization that seeks to help health care industry stakeholders better understand and use health information technology (IT)—tracks developments over the past three years in promoting the adoption and use of health IT. Supported by The Commonwealth Fund, the National Progress Report on eHealth finds that:
- Significant advances have been made as a result of public and private sector initiatives. The 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which allocated $30 billion to promote health IT, has been a key driver of progress.
- Many providers are concerned about the lack of coordination across government health and health information technology initiatives.
- More education and outreach to consumers about health IT and health information exchange are needed.
- Knowledge and transparency of privacy and security policies will be key to building consumer trust.
More than a hundred experts helped assess progress in the following five areas: aligning incentives, engaging consumers, improving population health, managing privacy, security and confidentiality, and transforming care delivery. Stakeholders’ perceptions of progress were also gauged. Sixty-one percent agreed or strongly agreed that significant progress has been made in the successful adoption and use of health IT since 2007, but most (67%) felt that outreach to educate consumers about the value of electronic health records and health information exchanges is not effective.
To realize the goal of using health IT adoption to improve quality in care delivery, the report recommends implementing policies and programs that take into consideration all sectors of the health care community, including consumers, and promoting further education on the new privacy and security laws and regulations.