States want flexibility, but need guidance when it comes to health reform and IT modernization

Deltek Principal Analyst Sherry Calvendra reports.

Last week’s 2011 State Healthcare IT Connect Summit hosted a mix of government participants coming together to examine key topics related to the transformation of health technology. The conference kicked off with keynotes from Julie Boughn, acting deputy director for operations at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and Farzad Mostashari, the national coordinator for health information technology. Boughn said the country is not getting the health care its public is paying for. With 46 million Americans lacking coverage, the nation’s health care is uncoordinated and fragmented. She said the whole system is generally unsupportive of patients and physicians, much less sustainable.

Mostashari discussed last year’s notable trends including meaningful use, certification, health information exchanges (HIE), Beacon Communities, workforce programs, and regional extension centers. He predicted as progress is made in health reform, more transparency and data liquidity will occur, and governance will be established for the Nationwide Health Information Network. Ultimately, future direction of a national strategy will be deployed by the states’ HIT coordinators, which Mostashai said are the true “boots on the ground” to make “HIE – the verb” happen.

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