Administration officials believe that once accomplished, the Joint Virtual Lifetime Record between DOD and VA could serve as a model for a national EHR system.
David Goldman, staff writer for CNNmoney.com summarizes Obama’s proposal to digitize health records and discusses the obstacles and advantages of the plan. You can view the article in its entirety at the link provided.
Health care costs are skyrocketing. Health insurance premiums have doubled in the last 8 years, rising 3.7vtimes faster than wages in the past 8 years, and increasing co-pays and deductibles threaten access to care. Many insurance plans cover only a limited number of doctors’ visits or hospital days, exposing families to unlimited financial liability. Over half of all personal bankruptcies today are caused by medical bills.2 Lack of affordable health care is compounded by serious flaws in our health care delivery system. About 100,000 Americans die from medical errors in hospitals every year.3 One-quarter of all medical spending goes to administrative and overhead costs, and reliance on antiquated paper-based record and information systems needlessly increases these costs.
Read the full plan at http://www.barackobama.com/pdf/issues/HealthCareFullPlan.pdf
With President-elect Obama’s proposed $20B over 2 years for HIT, he appears to be hoping to create 212,000 jobs, as in the previous post. Let’s do the math. This is $47,000 (give or take a couple hundred dollars) per job per year.
Of course, it would be expected that a significant portion of, and probably the majority of the $20B will go to software vendors, hardware vendors and even physicians, and a minority of it will end up as salary for new jobs.
There was another bill recently introduced, and favorably received but never passed, that would have allocated $100,000,000 for the anticipated production of 10,000 jobs. For those mathemeticians amongst us, 10,000 squared is exactly 100 million, so that it was expected that it would cost the federal government $10,000 per new person trained. The full text of the bill is appended at the bottom of this post.
While admittedly mixing apples and oranges, or more accurately mixing training costs and employee salaries, there does seem to be a longer term trend towards increasing th enumber of HIT jobs in America than one would have expected from viewing the actual legislation that has passed through both houses of congress and been implemented.
We are all hoping that we find the proper trade-off between saving money and training and employing new people, to allow for the best quality medical care, at an affordable price, while not lowering physicians’ salaries in the process.
HR 1467 RFS
To authorize the National Science Foundation to award grants to institutions of higher education to develop and offer education and training programs.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
The Congress finds that–
(1) the National Science Foundation has long been a government leader in strengthening our Nation’s information infrastructure;
(2) as automation and digitization reach the healthcare industry, that industry will need to draw heavily on the expertise of researchers funded by the National Science Foundation for the collection, processing, and utilization of information;
(3) the National Science Foundation’s basic research, demonstrations, and curriculum development assistance are all required to help make sure the industry has the knowledge, procedures, and workforce necessary to take full advantage of advanced communications and information technology;
(4) the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that 136,000 Americans were employed in 2000 as information management professionals in the healthcare industry alone, with projected growth of 49 percent by 2010; and
SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.
In this Act:
(3) INSTITUTION OF HIGHER EDUCATION- The term `institution of higher education’ has the meaning given that term in section 101 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001).
SEC. 4. NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION RESEARCH.
(1) IN GENERAL- The Director, in consultation with the heads of other Federal agencies as appropriate, shall award grants for basic research on innovative approaches to improve information systems. Research areas may include–
(2) MERIT REVIEW; COMPETITION- Grants shall be awarded under this section on a merit-reviewed, competitive basis.
(b) Informatics Research Centers-
(1) IN GENERAL- The Director, in consultation with the heads of other Federal agencies as appropriate, shall award multiyear grants, subject to the availability of appropriations, to institutions of higher education (or consortia thereof) to establish multidisciplinary Centers for Informatics Research. Institutions of higher education (or consortia thereof) receiving such grants may partner with one or more government laboratories, for-profit institutions, or non-profit institutions.
(2) MERIT REVIEW; COMPETITION- Grants shall be awarded under this subsection on a merit-reviewed, competitive basis.
(3) PURPOSE- The purpose of the Centers shall be to generate innovative approaches in information by conducting cutting-edge, multidisciplinary research, including in the research areas described in subsection (a)(1).
(4) APPLICATIONS- An institution of higher education (or a consortium thereof) seeking funding under this subsection shall submit an application to the Director at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Director may require. The application shall include, at a minimum, a description of–
(A) the research projects that will be undertaken by the Center and the contributions of each of the participating entities;
(B) how the Center will promote active collaboration among professionals from different disciplines, such as information technology specialists, health professionals, administrators, and social science researchers; and
(5) CRITERIA- In evaluating the applications submitted under paragraph (4), the Director shall consider, at a minimum–
(A) the ability of the applicant to generate innovative approaches to information and effectively carry out the research program;
(B) the experience of the applicant in conducting research in the information field, and the capacity of the applicant to foster new multidisciplinary collaborations;
(C) the capacity of the applicant to attract and provide adequate support for undergraduate and graduate students to pursue information research; and
(6) ANNUAL MEETING- The Director shall convene an annual meeting of the Centers in order to foster collaboration and communication between Center participants.
SEC. 5. NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION INFORMATION PROGRAMS.
(a) Capacity Building Grants-
(1) IN GENERAL- The Director, in consultation with the heads of other Federal agencies as appropriate, shall establish a program to award grants to institutions of higher education (or consortia thereof) to establish or improve undergraduate and master’s degree information programs, to increase the number of students who pursue undergraduate or master’s degrees in information fields, to provide students with experience in government or industry related to their information studies, and, to the extent practicable, to do so using distance learning.
(2) MERIT REVIEW; COMPETITION- Grants shall be awarded under this subsection on a merit-reviewed, competitive basis.
(3) USE OF FUNDS- Grants awarded under this subsection shall be used for activities that enhance the ability of an institution of higher education (or consortium thereof) to provide high-quality information education, including certification and undergraduate and master’s degree programs, and to recruit and retain increased numbers of students to such programs. Activities may include–
(A) developing and revising curriculum to better prepare undergraduate and master’s degree students for careers in the information field;
(D) acquiring equipment necessary for student instruction in these programs, including the installation of testbed networks for student use;
(E) providing opportunities for faculty to work with State, local, or Federal Government agencies, private industry, and other academic institutions to develop new expertise or to formulate new information research directions;
(F) establishing collaborations with other academic institutions or departments that seek to establish, expand, or enhance these programs;
(G) establishing student internships for students in these programs at State, local, and Federal Government agencies or in private industry;
(H) establishing or enhancing bridge programs in information fields between community colleges and universities; and
(4) SELECTION PROCESS-
(A) APPLICATION- An institution of higher education (or a consortium thereof) seeking funding under this subsection shall submit an application to the Director at such time, in such manner, and with such contents as the Director may require. The application shall include, at a minimum–
(i) a description of the applicant’s relevant research and instructional capacity, and in the case of an application from a consortium of institutions of higher education, a description of the role that each member will play in implementing the proposal;
(ii) a comprehensive plan by which the institution or consortium will build instructional capacity in information fields;
(iii) a description of relevant collaborations with State, local, or Federal Government agencies or private industry that inform the instructional program;
(iv) a survey of the applicant’s historic student enrollment and placement data and a study of potential enrollment and placement for students enrolled in the proposed program; and
(5) ASSESSMENT REQUIRED- The Director, in consultation with the heads of other Federal agencies as appropriate, shall evaluate the program established under this subsection no later than 3 years after the establishment of the program. At a minimum, the Director shall evaluate the extent to which the grants have achieved their objectives of increasing the quality and quantity of students pursuing undergraduate or master’s degrees in information fields. The Director shall make this assessment publicly available.
(b) Scientific and Advanced Technology Act of 1992-
(1) GRANTS- The Director shall provide grants under the Scientific and Advanced Technology Act of 1992 for the purposes of section 3(a) and (b) of that Act, except that the activities supported pursuant to this subsection shall be limited to improving education in fields related to information.
President-elect wants to computerize the nation’s health care records in five years. But the plan comes with a hefty price tag, and specialized labor is scarce.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — President-elect Barack Obama, as part of the effort to revive the economy, has proposed a massive effort to modernize health care by making all health records standardized and electronic. Continue reading: Obama's big idea: Digital health records
Senators Encourage President-elect to Include Health IT in Economic Recovery
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) today announced the introduction of the Health Information Technology Act of 2009 (S. 179) that would provide a much-needed investment to modernize and improve the country’s health care infrastructure. Also today, Stabenow and Snowe sent a letter to President-elect Obama, encouraging him to use the Act as a blueprint for addressing health care issues in the upcoming economic recovery package. The Act would provide critical investments into health care technology that will improve quality of care, improve efficiency and reduce costs. Senators Stabenow and Snowe are co-chairs of the Senate Health Care Quality Improvement and Information Technology Caucus. Continue reading: Stabenow, Snowe Push Legislation to Improve Health Care, Reduce Cost
An Open Letter to the Obama Health Team on Health IT Spending
“…we must also ensure that our hospitals are connected to each other through the Internet. That is why the economic recovery plan I’m proposing will help modernize our health care system – and that won’t just save jobs, it will save lives. We will make sure that every doctor’s office and hospital in this country is using cutting edge technology and electronic medical records so that we can cut red tape, prevent medical mistakes, and help save billions of dollars each year.”