This just in: The stimulus is no magic bullet

In case anyone was wondering, the stimulus isn't a magic bullet that is going to cure all that ails healthcare simply by giving doctors and hospitals some cash for EMRs. Kaiser Health News documents the "tough sell" the Obama administration faces in convincing healthcare providers to embrace health IT by applying a reality check to the words and actions of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Dr. David Blumenthal during his first few months on the job, including the newly released proposed definition for "meaningful use" of HIT.

The story quotes a March report from the Congressional Budget Office: "Office-based physicians in particular may see no benefit if they purchase and install such a product--and may even suffer financial harm," reflecting the high cost and painful workflow redesign that EMRs frequently necessitate.

Meanwhile, two EMR advocates talk about similar issues in a contribution to Hospitals & Health Networks. Jane Horowitz, chief operating officer at the National Alliance for Health Information Technology, and Fred Bazzoli, senior director of communications at the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, note that the stimulus does little in the short term to ease the financial struggles that plague the healthcare industry right now. "After that initial rush of excitement [from passage of the legislation], most hospitals are now grappling with the reality of what it will take to be let into the dance hall," they write.

Find out more about the realities of EMRs and the stimulus by:
- reading this Kaiser Health News story
- clicking over to the piece by Horowitz and Bazzoli