Abstract: The landmark Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, initiated a seed change in the implementation of health information technology (healthIT) in the United States. Prior to HITECH, only an estimated 4% of the nation's clinical practices reported use of a comprehensive electronic health record (EHR). In June 2012 report by Farzad Mostashari, MD, ScM, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology in the Office of the National Coordinator reported that 57% of Medicare physicians use EHRs at their primary practice location in 2011.
Though legislation and financial incentives can facilitate health IT system installations, meaningfully using these technologies requires an in-depth understanding of the barriers and facilitators of robust health IT utilization. The Palo Alto Medical Foundation has been a pioneer in the implementation of electronic and personal health records - the first PAMF clinic “went live” with the EHR in 1999; the first PAMF patient enrolled in PAMFOnline, one of the nation's earliest personal health records, in January of 2001. Today over 75% of adult patients and 50% of caregivers (parents and children of PAMF patients) actively use the PHR. In this seminar, we will describe our health IT ecosystem for maximizing the clinical benefit delivered to the key stakeholders: patients and their families who receive care AND the physicians and staff who provide care. We will then explore how an organization like PAMF is today leveraging such an ecosystem to innovate how care is delivered. Finally, we will explore future stages of Meaningful Use to understand how organizations will have to “skate to the puck” to truly realize the benefits of this significant national investment in health IT.