How the next president could fix health IT: 5 thoughts from Jonathan Bush

Jonathan Bush, co-founder, president and CEO of athenahealth, has long been vocal about his frustration with the government's involvement in healthcare regulation. Mr. Bush believes the government is too hands-on and its regulation impedes the rate of innovation in this sector. In a new post on Medium, Mr. Bush reiterates these sentiments, but he does so in a more politically charged context than he usually does.

"As a member of the Bush family, I've campaigned, politicked and supported elections since my earliest years," Mr. Bush wrote. He is cousins with President George W. Bush and early Republican nominee candidate Jeb Bush. President George H. W. Bush is his uncle.

Despite how deep his political roots run, Mr. Bush writes that he cannot remember when Americans were "so divided on the issues, yet united in being fed up."

However, he writes healthcare has not been as heavily discussed as other issues like immigration and free trade by presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton  throughout the primaries.

Here are five thoughts from Jonathan Bush on politics, government and healthcare innovation.

1. Healthcare is going to force itself to the top of a priority list for whoever ends up being president, and the commander-in-chief may not be who we think it will be. "Come January, the charge to reform, or to unbreak, the healthcare system will fall on Clinton, Trump or — yes, I do believe this could happen — even Gary Johnson or Jill Stein," he writes.

2. Mr. Bush writes that Ms. Clinton's healthcare platform does not harness innovation as a tool to drive quality and affordable healthcare. He suggests that Mr. Trump could also leverage innovation ideals to advance his "pro-business" mindset and enable free markets. Overall, he writes the government should stop defining innovation and instead reward the private sector to create and compete to produce the best products.

3. The Affordable Care Act in and of itself is not the problem, according to Mr. Bush. "If anyone thinks Obamacare is the biggest problem in today's health system, they're wrong. The real threat is the administrative theocracy: the negative labor and productivity returns our technology delivers," he writes. "Shockingly, it seems that the more our country spends on technology in healthcare, the more dissatisfied providers become, the more frustrated patients feel, and the more expensive healthcare gets. The biggest failure in healthcare very well may be the technology and infrastructure it operates on."

4. Mr. Bush believes the ONC has ballooned its authority in overseeing EHRs. While its budget is a minimal sum compared to other federal agencies, he writes that it is causing widespread affects throughout the healthcare system, "inflicting enormous pain on our nation's providers and care teams, turning caregivers into box-checkers."

5. So what is government's role in health IT? "Government should get out of the business of defining technology innovation and into the business of rewarding it," Mr. Bush writes. "Instead of dictating how technology companies share data and information, America's next president must demand that the private sector deliver the right outcomes — information flowing from all clinical data sources — and then actually let the private sector complete that work."

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