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Q&A: Mostashari Reflects as He Prepares to Exit ONC

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, October 1, 2013

Certainly if you talk to hospitals that are reducing their readmissions, some part of it has to do with better communications and better adherence to standardized protocols. If you talk to any accountable care organization, in particular the folks who are successful or trending toward success on reducing costs, and you ask them, do you need health IT to do this? They'll say obviously we need health IT to do this.

It starts with being able to make a list of patients, and you can't do that on paper. So I guess I would say it's a little more complicated than that. But I do think that if we want to get to better care at lower cost, not just less care at lower cost, less care at lower cost, that we can do.

In fact, we tried that, right? People didn't like it very much. What we're trying to do now is better care, better health at lower cost, and that means that we have to think differently, and we have to use every tool at our disposal, in particular information tools, and in particular the patients, and empower the patients. So those all, I believe, are going to be fundamentally enabled by the technology that we're laying the foundations for.

HLM: As part of your HIE roadmap, you urged that funding be extended for the Regional Extension Centers. Where is that funding going to come from?

Mostashari: We didn't propose an existing vehicle for that, but I think the issue is, are the extension centers adding value? Are they adding value to states? In which case I would hope that states would support them.

There's actually [a] 90/10 federal match available for states who wish, like Kentucky, to support the extension centers. I would ask [whether there is] value being provided to specialists and others who would get consulting practices for something like $5,000.

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