Now that the presidential candidates, both Democratic and Republican, have taken their first shots at defining their ideas for health care and the role of IT, all eyes are turning to the future to try and determine how that might play out in a new administration.
The short answer is that no-one knows because, particularly in health care, the devil is in the details. And so far there’s been very few details forthcoming from the candidates about how they will use IT for health care reform.
For one thing, a new president won’t have total control of the field whenever he or she comes into power. They’ll have to deal with a number of partially formed initiatives that can’t just be wished away.
“They’ll have to come to grips with the legacy of the Bush administration and what (Health and Human Services) Secretary Leavitt has done,” said Scott Wallace, president and chief executive of the National Alliance for Health Information Technology (NAHIT).
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information (ONCHIT) will still exist when the new administration takes over, he said. And Leavitt is continuing to push ahead with his plans to replace the American Health Information Community (AHIC), which has been the government’s principal advisory body on such things as interoperability and standards, with a public/private organization.