We've said it before and you know it's true: health information technology is for better health outcomes, not just better technology. And the new regulations released by the Obama administration show that they get it.
I was thrilled to watch HHS Secretary Sebelius, who recently spoke at the National Partnership's annual luncheon, make the announcement this morning at HHS. These new regulations will mean that those health providers who take federal health IT dollars will be held accountable for improving the care you receive - by using health IT in a meaningful way.
An end is finally in sight for the days when doctors have to sift through incomplete and incomprehensible hand-written medical records - when patients must tote test results from doctor to doctor - and when family caregivers spend endless time trying to coordinate medications and treatments for those who can't do so for themselves.
And we say 'good riddance.' The regulations are strong, sensible, patient-centered - and just what the nation needs as we reform our health care system.
But let's be clear: our work on the meaningful use of health IT isn't done. As we move forward, we need to make sure the regulations are strengthened so providers who violate privacy laws are ineligible for federal IT dollars, and so providers are required to give all patients timely access to their health information.
So, for today, let's celebrate. Today's action helps put in place the foundation for a health care system that works for patients and families - and we will all benefit as private and secure electronic health records become the norm in the United States. And tomorrow, we forge ahead. Stay tuned...