May 28, 2013 • 29M

Christine Bechtel Discusses the State of Health Information Technology (HIT) Adoption and Use (May 28, 2013)

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David Introcaso, Ph.D.
Podcast interviews with health policy experts on timely subjects. The Healthcare Policy Podcast website features audio interviews with healthcare policy experts on timely topics. An online public forum routinely presenting expert healthcare policy analysis and comment is lacking. While other healthcare policy website programming exists, these typically present vested interest viewpoints or do not combine informed policy analysis with political insight or acumen. Since healthcare policy issues are typically complex, clear, reasoned, dispassionate discussion is required. These podcasts will attempt to fill this void. Among other topics this podcast will address: •Implementation of the Affordable Care Act •Other federal Medicare and state Medicaid health care issues •Federal health care regulatory oversight, moreover CMS and the FDA •Healthcare research •Private sector healthcare delivery reforms including access, reimbursement and quality issues •Public health issues including the social determinates of health Listeners are welcomed to share their program comments and suggest programming ideas. Comments made by the interviewees are strictly their own and do not represent those of their affiliated organization/s.
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The health care sector has substantially lagged all other major industries in the adoption and use of information technology.  For example, per the CDC, in 2011 still slightly more than half of physicians (54%) used an electronic health record (EHR) (though compared to 17% in 2008), among of solo practitioners only 29% and among specialities only 48% of surgeons.  However, since 2009 the federal government has made substantial financial investments in incenting the adoption and use of heath information technology (HIT) such that by the end of 2013 it's anticipated 80 percent of hospitals providing Medicare or Medicaid (ostensibly all hospitals) will be using EHRs (compared to 9% in 2008). 

During this 27-minute podcast, Ms. Christine Bechtel discusses the 2009 ARRA's HITECH provision that incented hospitals, physicians and others to adopt HIT.  She addresses the law's policy and standards' committee activities, specifically the law's "meaningful use" provision, what meaningful use stages 1, 2, 3 are intended to accomplish and the extent to which HIT adoption has succeeded over the past four years.   She explains Health Information Exchanges (HIEs and what level of success they've achieved to date.  The interview concludes with her assessment of the extent to which HIT has produced cost savings.        

Ms. Christine Bechtel is President of the Bechtel Health Advisory Group, an organization that advises clients on how to implement patient- and family-centered, IT-enabled health care and policies.  Among other clients are the National Partnership for Women & Families, where she previously served as Vice-President and the Casey Health Institute, a new non-profit primary care practice in Gaithersburg, MD.  Ms. Bechtel also served previously as vice president of the eHealth Initiative (eHI), a Washington D.C.-based non-profit organization dedicated to improving the health care quality via information technology.  Prior to eHI, Ms. Bechtel worked with American Health Quality Association, she also served as senior research adviser at AARP, worked as Director of Community Development for Louisiana's Medicare Quality Improvement Organization and served on the staff of Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD).  Her BS is in politics and public policy from Goucher College and her master's is in political management from George Washington University.