National Coordinator for Health IT David Blumenthal: Whether Detailed Standards or Competition Drive EMRs Yet to Be Seen

National Coordinator for Health Information Technology David Blumenthal, MD, has acknowledged there is a "raging debate" over whether the development of electronic medical records will be driven by detailed standards or competition, according to a Mass Device news report.

At a gala for the Lucian Leape Institute of the National Patient Safety Foundation, former Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neill asked Dr. Blumenthal, "Why is it that we're reluctant to declare that we are going to design the best prototype that we can with an idea that we will have [iterative] versions as we learn more and we identify more needs? Why is it that we can't call to question and get on with what's a clear and apparent need for a national standard that's a work in progress?"

Dr. Blumenthal replied to Mr. O'Neill by admitting the debate over whether development of EMRs would be driven by detailed standards or competition is not yet over. "Do we want a world where somebody sets very detailed standards for what computers have to do in order to create interoperability? Or do we want a world that's a little bit more like the Internet, where a minimal set of standards was created and an enormous, vibrant competition and spontaneous growth occurred?" he asked.

Dr. Blumenthal added that the federal government is capable of establishing standards and will continue to do so post-implementation of phase 1 requirements of meaningful use of EMRs in order to achieve greater interoperability.

Read Mass Device's news report about Dr. David Blumenthal's speech on EMRs.

Read other coverage about electronic medical records:

- Study Finds EMR Implementation Increases Costs at California Hospitals

- President Obama Directs $600M in Stimulus Funds to Health Centers, EMR

- Study Suggests 40% of Consumers Would Pay For Device That Sends health Info Electronically to Physicians

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