Health IT: Government Produces Positive Change?

There is an article in today’s NYTimes about the profound changes that are occurring in the Health Record business now that the Obama government has added incentives of $40,000 per physician for adopting electronic health records. Players like  Google, IBM, and Microsoft have tossed their Health Record technologies into the ring. But the most important factor is how these various systems deliver “meaningful use”.  Here from the Times article is the key issue:

“The Obama administration’s health technology plan, which is part of the economic recovery package, includes incentive payments for adopting electronic health records — more than $40,000 per physician and up to several million dollars for hospitals. The payments are based on “meaningful use” of such records, although Congress left defining that term to the Department of Health and Human Services.”

Obviously there will be a standards definition war over what comprises “meaningful use”. Unfortunately as detailed here  and at Information Week , the IT industry has a  very poor  record at agreeing to let alone adhering to standards. What is particularly worrying is that one of the worst standards abusers, Microsoft, is bidding bigtime.  Will the Health Industry or the Federal Government demand better of Microsoft and the IT industry on adhering to standards?  Stay tuned by keeping this issue on the top of your radar screens.