Op-ed: Don't forget IT in health reform

That may seem like a silly headline, given that Congress has already appropriated a net $19.2 billion in funding for EMRs and other health IT, but Washington, DC, lobbyist Sean Donahue makes the case that Uncle Sam can't just write a big check and expect everything to get done. Writing in the Mercury News (San Jose, CA), Donahue says modernization of an antiquated system already seems to be getting lost in the growing debate over comprehensive healthcare reform.

He calls on leaders to set three objectives. First, Washington should provide adequate funding for health IT. Donahue says the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the appointment of Dr. David Blumenthal as national coordinator for health IT and the selection of Aneesh Chopra as the first national chief technology officer are all "steps in the right direction," echoing some criticisms that $19.2 billion won't be enough.

Donahue also says government needs to partner with private industry to develop interoperability standards--a process that's been in motion for several years--and work with both states and the private sector to promote best practices. "It's now up to Congress and the administration to show that meaningful reform isn't just about access to or affordability of care, but also creating a 21st century system that makes it easier, safer and more cost efficient to deliver," Donahue concludes.

To read Donahue's entire argument:
- take a look at his op-ed in the Mercury News