by Cecilia Arradaza, Communications Director, FasterCures
"When you go visit your doctor, only three people know what happens during
that visit: you, your doctor, and your insurance agent. None of these people are
responsible for finding a cure for your disease…and none of them are necessarily
connected to the people working to find a cure for your disease… How do we
integrate the care community with the cure community?" -- Greg Simon,
FasterCures President, in remarks to the American Health Information Community, 7/29/2008
Greg joined an expert panel of medical research leaders and advocates recently to call on the American Health Information Community (AHIC) to ensure that the nationwide health information system being built can improve patient care and enable medical research.
In the ongoing discussion surrounding the creation of a national health information technology (IT) system, medical research lurks in the shadows of privacy and interoperability. At the AHIC meeting at the end of July, the medical research community made a resounding call for AHIC or its successor organization to put in place a supplemental process to ensure that the nation’s health IT system is built to improve both healthcare delivery and medical research – and to do so quickly. See coverage of the AHIC meeting.
Ensuring utmost privacy protections and efficient interoperability capabilities are critical to the success and sustainability of a health IT system. As we build the system’s infrastructure, it is just as critical to consider how best to utilize patient data to improve healthcare delivery, enable medical research, and accelerate cures.
There will be new opportunities for health information exchange to support clinical research activities as electronic health record (EHR) adoption increases and a national standardized system evolves. Incorporating medical research into a national health IT system is inevitable. As AHIC transitions into its next entity, it has an important choice to make: to implement a health IT system that protects privacy and ensures operability now, only to rebuild that system to better support medical research OR; to implement a comprehensive, interoperable health IT system with the highest privacy standards and a strong research capacity already in place.
FasterCures believes accelerating cures must be a goal of the emerging Nationwide Health Information Network in addition to improving patient care. While the focus of most efforts to do so has been on improving care by limiting costs and medical errors, the real savings, in terms of both reducing healthcare costs and, more importantly, in eliminating human suffering, will come from curing disease and from limiting its damage.
Related Blogs: Health IT's Real Savings
More information on FasterCures recommendations for using EHRs to bridge patient care and research