Thursday, December 9, 2010

Are we optimizing our health IT system to improve patient outcomes?

Dozens of public and private stakeholders in medical research joined FasterCures last week at a forum about health information technology (health IT) policies – what these mean, what these represent, and how these will impact patient outcomes. The discussion focused on our national health IT infrastructure and how it is designed (or not) for clinical research. FasterCures Executive Director, Margaret Anderson, drove the discussion with Adam Clark, Ph.D., Director of Scientific and Federal Affairs at FasterCures. Adam sits on the policy committee of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) as a consumer advocate.

Key points raised during the forum include:
  • The lack of communication between different sectors of the medical field despite the ever-growing state of health information technology.

  • The current efforts by the ONC to establish standardized electronic health record (EHR) systems as a means of enhancing the quality of clinical care and

  • Utilizing patient data to advance research and development.

  • Addressing the challenges of patient privacy and security in implementing standardized EHR systems.

  • The need for patients to have access to information in EHR systems, not only clinicians and providers.

  • The importance of health information technology encompassing clinical research moving forward, creating effective avenues towards scientific innovation.

This effort is part of FasterCuresThink Research program that supports the utilization of medical records and clinical datasets towards research on the progression of diseases and the development of treatment methods for them. An updated version of the FasterCures’ white paper entitled “Think Research: Using Electronic Medical Records to Bridge Patient Care and Research” will be released in early 2011.

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