MA leads the way in national EMR effort

National Coordinator for Health IT Dr. David Blumenthal is a Harvard man; so is health IT's Energizer Bunny, Dr. John Halamka. The architect of President Obama's health IT plan was Harvard economist David Cutler. Heck, even Obama himself graduated from Harvard Law School. Massachusetts General Hospital, a Harvard affiliate, had had some form of EMR since the early 1970s.

Boston-area vendors eClinicalWorks and athenahealth have grabbed plenty of headlines of late, as they win contracts to install EMRs in physician offices. And they're just building on the pedigree of Medical Information Technology Inc., which has been producing software for hospitals for some 40 years.

Yes, all eyes seem to be on Massachusetts as the nation moves forward with ambitious plans to provide interoperable EHRs to all Americans by 2014. Actually, eyes will be on Washington, DC, today, as HHS is expected to release a revised draft of "meaningful use" standards to qualify for stimulus funding, with Blumenthal leading that meeting. Also scheduled to attend is Paul Egerman, who worked on the early Mass General system, co-founded IDX Systems--since taken over by GE Healthcare--and started eScription, a Needham, MA, company now owned by Nuance Communications.

"Massachusetts is like the Silicon Valley of healthcare information technology,'' Egerman tells the Boston Globe, which reports that the Bay State is at least twice as far along as the national average in terms of EMR usage.

To learn more about the Massachusetts connection in the national EMR picture:
- take a look at this Boston Globe piece