Private industry, not the federal government, will eventually drive health information technology initiatives, said David Blumenthal, national coordinator for health information technology at HHS, at a policy conference sponsored by the National Committee for Quality Assurance in Washington.
The federal government “has been investing a lot of effort and funds to push the adoption of health IT,” Blumenthal acknowledged, though he envisions a time when “the feds won’t be in this business, that we won’t be pushing health IT into the community,” but instead be trying to keep up with the advancements taking place in the private sector.
Overall, he seemed confident in physician adoption of electronic health records. A recent study of physician practices showed that 20% were using electronic records in 2008. Of those users, 90% said they were satisfied with the technology “and could point to quality improvements” as a result of using electronic records, Blumenthal stated.