Garets: IT Enabling 'Incredible Transformation' for Health Care Organizations

Honored by HIMSS as influential voice, The Advisory Board Company IT research and advisory services leader David E. Garets sees technology becoming 'front and center' for care delivery

WASHINGTON, Feb. 16, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Health care information technology (HIT) has made a sweeping evolution over the past 50 years, from the invention of the database management system to the implementation of at least foundational-level electronic medical records at a majority of U.S. hospitals.  

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However, HIT will change even more over the next 10 years than it has in the last 50 years combined, according to David E. Garets, an Executive Director who leads The Advisory Board Company's IT research and advisory services.

"Most health care organizations are undergoing incredible transformations that are enabled by IT," said Garets, who will be honored next week as one of the HIT industry's 50 most influential contributors over the past half-century by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS)  

"I do not think anybody really fully understands what impact health care reform and the movement towards value-based payment systems are going to have on care delivery organizations," he added.  "Accountable care cannot help but be significant and its success cannot help but be driven by an organization's ability to manage the information about its business and its patients.  We are going to see unprecedented innovation and utilization of IT in the next decade."

Garets has been named as a recipient of the HIMSS 50 in 50 Award, which recognizes memorable achievements in the field or contributions to the body of knowledge of healthcare information technology and management systems.  Nominations for the award came from the full HIMSS membership of more than 33,000 professionals and voting was limited to current and past HIMSS board members.  

"I am gratified and humbled by it," he said.  "I have an incredible amount of respect for the other honorees.  It is a wonderful honor."

Garets, who is receiving the award for his contributions over the past decade, will join Jim Adams in presenting "The New IT Strategy Map for Accountable Care" on Tuesday, February 22nd at HIMSS11 in Orlando (Education Session 105, from 1-2 p.m. in room 230B).  

"HIT is going to have to play a much more important role the next ten years than it has any time in its history," Garets said.  He cited the increasingly critical role that data standardization and quality can play in driving clinical behavior and documentation.  He indicated that over the next ten years, this trend will require much more than just meaningful use of electronic medical records and that effective remediation of ICD-10, substantial enhancement of clinical documentation tools, business intelligence, natural language processing, data warehousing, data mining, and data analysis will all also be critical components of an effective HIT approach in the current and coming health care environment.

"The industry has gotten a lot more focused on supporting the business of a health care organization, which is patient care," Garets said. "And I think we are starting to do the right things now: automating care process documentation and improving care delivery and quality.  We talked a lot about that in the past two decades but we are really starting to make significant progress, and that's really encouraging.

"I think it now has gotten to the point where IT is not optional in a health care delivery organization," he added.  "It is required to run the business effectively and efficiently, take care of patients, ensure quality, and document it all.  It will be exciting to see where the next 10 years take us as HIT makes tremendous strides in supporting the highest goals of our health care delivery system."

About The Advisory Board Company's IT Research and Advisory Services

Hospitals and health systems now face mounting regulatory and market pressures to reach the full potential of their IT system investments and drive broad performance improvement for their institutions.  The Advisory Board Company's IT membership programs support the critical partnership between IT leaders and other senior executives that is required in order to develop the sound IT strategies and governance (and to execute the strong IT implementations) that will improve care delivery.  Through innovative services, the programs enable hospital and health systems to improve technology adoption by physicians and other important stakeholders, leverage the technology to impact care delivery, and drive continued value from IT investments.  The memberships, the IT Strategy Council and the Applications and Technologies Collaborative, are unique in their ability to drive senior executive collaboration on using IT to support business and clinical functions.  For more information, visit or our booth at HIMSS11 (Hall C, booth No. 5377).

About The Advisory Board Company

The Advisory Board Company is a leading provider of comprehensive performance improvement services to the health care and education sectors – including operational best practices and insights, technology solutions, leadership development, and consulting and management support.  Drawing on nearly three decades of experience, The Advisory Board Company is privileged to serve a membership of nearly 3,000 organizations, all sharing a charter "above commerce," a commitment to best-practice standards, and an unyielding insistence on continual improvement.  For more information, visit

SOURCE The Advisory Board Company