Innovation and Technology in Health Care

8/30/10 By David Lindeman

Recently, I had the pleasure of hearing Aneesh Chopra, the first Chief Technology Officer of the United States, speak to a national audience concerning the administration’s strategy to embrace innovation as a major tool to improve the health care of Americans. I was excited to hear that in the drive to lower costs, improve quality, and increase satisfaction with health care -- there is a strong place for technology. From the Administration’s perspective, the three primary issues involved in the use of technology to improve health care include:

  • Accelerating provider adoption of technology
  • Improving interoperability
  • Continuing to apply innovation

To date, the federal government’s emphasis on technology has primarily focused on the expansion of health information technology, specifically the broad adoption of electronic health records (EHR). The evidence is growing that EHRs can improve the quality and outcomes of health care while at the same time reducing costs. These principals clearly apply to other forms of technology, including remote monitoring technologies, telehealth, mobile technologies, and online tracking.

Remote technologies play a central role in reaching more patients while improving the efficiency of the health care work force. As providers and payers struggle to absorb the additional 31 million more Americans that will soon be added to the US health care system, the same central policy tenets now being directed at the expansion of EHRs will need to be applied to these other technologies. Providers and payers need to consider modular applications, open collaboration, technologies that support care transitions and clinical transformation strategies – not to mention how to best apply the breakthroughs and innovations that are still to come. Ultimately, our health care delivery system, including ongoing reforms, will still be powered by payment.

As Dr. Chopra so eloquently stated, to fully embrace the benefits of technology, the health care ecosystem must maintain its flexibility and allow for innovation to drive the highest quality of care possible, while insuring that patient security and privacy are maintained.

Important Tech4Impact Dates

Letter of Intent Due
July 30, 2010

Grant Proposal Guidelines Released September 29, 2010

Full Proposals Due
October 21, 2010

Final Grant Award Decision Prior to December 31, 2010

Grant Start Date
January 4, 2011

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