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Blumenthal, EHRs: Change for the Better?

Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media, December 7, 2010

How will competitors share health data without compromising the health of their own organizations? How can organizations afford to gamble their own time and money in electronic systems before the stimulus dollars start to flow? How do small physician practices navigate such a complex path to IT? How do they know if they're choosing the right system? And what, exactly, will "meaningful use" mean in future stages of the effort?

Blumenthal has put an emphasis on input and collaboration—backed by regulation in the form of the HITECH Act and some $20 billion in government incentives for those organizations that become meaningful users of HIT. He works with industry trade groups and state and federal offices. He's enlisted thought leaders, formed committees of experts, and sought input from patient privacy and legal rights advocates. He's called on healthcare leaders to be participants and partners in determining the future of electronic health systems.

Blumenthal has, he says, "a great deal of confidence" that healthcare leaders can—and must—achieve widespread meaningful use of the systems. "But I've also learned from them that this is tough," he says. "There's no lack of work to be done."

Whatever you think about our decision to add him to our list of 20, it's hard to imagine that all of that work won't pay off. 

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