Gauging the Progress of the National Health Information Technology Initiative: Perspectives from the Field
Publication Date: January 2008
Publisher(s): California HealthCare Foundation
Author(s): Bruce Merlin Fried
In April 2004, President Bush outlined a plan to ensure that most Americans would have electronic health records within ten years. The president told the public he believed that better health information technology was essential to realizing his vision for the health care system and address the issues of preventable errors, uneven quality, and rising costs. To advance the president's plan, Dr. David Brailer, the nation's first health information technology coordinator, pursued a strategy constructed around the proliferation of electronic health record (EHR) systems. The strategy included the creation of a National Health Information Technology Network, a Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel, and other projects designed to promote EHR use and adoption. In an effort to assess how much progress has been made toward the president's goal, the California HealthCare Foundation commissioned interviews with nearly two dozen leaders and experts in health information technology. The results suggest that while the federal initiative has raised awareness about a number of important issues, it has yet to produce the kind of fundamental changes needed to usher in a nationwide EHR system.