Thursday, February 3, 2011

Including Medical Images in Health IT Policy

In 2011, there will be an unprecedented amount of federal incentives going towards physicians in a policy called “meaningful use.” However, there is one group that feels left out.

On January, I attended an event called “Images, EHRs, and Meaningful Use”, held by the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB). The ONC is the federal office implementing “meaningful use and the NIBIB, so I was told, was a branch of the NIH founded by the radiology lobby.

Being the only student and a blank slate when it comes to the topic of IT in radiology, I had much to take in. The first thing that struck me as a bit different was the crowd, as doctors made up the majority of attendees, both from practicing roles and physician administration titles of CIO/CMIO/CTO. The rest composed of vendors and NIBIB employees.

I soon learned the event was essentially set up to allow communication between radiologists and the ONC. The main argument being championed by the attendees was that “images are very important in our specialty, and they should be part of meaningful use.”

What I enjoyed about the event was the wide range of topics and panelists. Topics included meaningful use, imaging, providers, insurers, venture capital, HIT in England, and many others.  It was almost perfect for a student like myself as I was able to hear thought leaders covering the entire health IT landscape.

What I realized is that when it comes to the impending implementation of health IT, everyone is trying to grab a piece of the pie but most are not sure how.

The award for the most popular technology at the event goes to...the iPad. Perhaps Apple will soon be pulled into the HIT space that other giants like Google/Microsoft are pushing to enter.

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