April 6, 2009 By Wayne Hanson
About $19 billion stimulus dollars are targeted for health IT, and the number of initiatives are accelerating. Just today, for example, the Federal Health Architecture -- an e-government initiative led by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) -- began offering free CONNECT software to help public and private health information technology systems communicate to the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN).
The Department of Veteran's Affairs (VA) touted a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine that highlights the VA's successful implementation of electronic health records. "VA hospitals have used electronic health records for more than a decade with dramatic associated improvements in clinical quality," the study's authors wrote.
Today at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) 2009 Annual Conference & Exhibition, Microsoft released an updated version of its Connected Health Framework (CHF) Architecture and Design Blueprint and additional solution accelerators in the Connected Health Platform (CHP) to help customers and partners deliver interoperable next-generation e-health solutions. In addition, leading health-care solution providers Perot Systems and Philips Healthcare are supporting Microsoft's commitment to deliver to customers e-health solutions built on the CHF and CHP strategy.
Medco Health Solutions Inc. and Google Health are collaborating so that Medco's more than 60 million members can construct their own online personal health record (PHR), effectively creating a secure and private place for their health information to be stored.
What's the public's reaction to the databasing and sharing of personal health information? According to the 2009 Deloitte Survey of Health Care Consumers released today, the public -- only 9 percent of whom have an electronic personal health record -- want the ability to e-mail their doctors, schedule online appointments, order online prescriptions, etc., if the information is protected. The survey also reported that 60 percent of the public endorse government establishment of standards for how medical information is collected, stored and exchanged.
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.