Dr. John Halamka's 5 health IT policy predictions

Despite uncertainty surrounding the Senate's ACA replacement bill, John Halamka, MD, CIO of Boston-based Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, remains optimistic about the future of health IT, he wrote in a recent blog post.

Here are his five predictions on health IT policy in the U.S.

1. Policy will focus on enhancing interoperability and supporting care coordination, population health, precision medicine, patient engagement and research.

2. IT developers need to create tools that are more user-friendly, particularly related to EHRs. Dr. Halamka believes the startup community will drive these innovations through apps that deploy data in EHRs using application programming interfaces.

3. Academic, government and industry organizations are thinking about patient identity strategies, including biometrics, a voluntary national identifier or a software solution —  although it is unclear which method will dominate.

4. Several groups are considering how to merge "heterogenous state privacy policies," Dr. Halamka writes. He says these groups hope to simplify privacy protection issues by making the patient the "data steward."

5. With the move toward value-based care, healthcare industry stakeholders are increasingly considering the efficacy of IT policies focused on outcomes — such as reduced readmissions — rather than policies that prescribe which technologies an organization uses.

"I believe the next few years will be filled with market driven innovation, encouraged by new consumer demand for healthcare process automation and supplemented by low cost ... It will be a great time for entrepreneurs, providers and patients, all of whom are fatigued after years of Meaningful Use, ICD10 and accelerating numbers of quality measures," he concludes.  

Click here to read the full blog post.

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