2012 in review | Life as a Healthcare CIO

January 1, 2013 by MassDevice

By John D. Halamka, MD

Dr. John Halamka

It's the time of year that many writers reflect on the major events of the past 365 days.  I'll let the journalists cover the impact of the election, the epidemic of senseless violence, and the scandals of infidelity.

To me, there were 5 major healthcare IT events in 2012 that we need to recognize and celebrate:

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1.  EHR adoption became unstoppable – In 2010, the Beth Israel Deaconess Physician's Organization changed its bylaws to require a certified EHR as a condition of practice.   Even in 2010 this was controversial and we had long discussions about exceptions for specialists and grandfather clauses for early adopters of EHRs which lacked the interoperability we required.    In 2012, any such discussion became moot.   90% of our entire community of affiliated clinicians have attested to meaningful use.    As Beth Israel Deaconess expands its accountable care organization, one of the first questions asked by potential partners is the IT integration strategy.   In every community I visit in the US, clinicians are speaking about their EHR experiences.  Initial implementations were often challenging, but I've not found a clinician who wants to revert to a paper world.

2.  Health Information Exchange became real – In Massachusetts and many other state states, communities are exchanging data for care coordination and population health.    Unambiguous transport, content, and vocabulary standards have taken the guesswork out of  health information exchanges.   Although technical issues have been solved, there are remaining business sustainability issues for some HIEs, but several have found that stakeholders will pay for data sharing from the money saved through cost avoidance as new business processes are enabled.