SPOTLIGHT: Panel optimistic, apprehensive about 'meaningful use' of health IT

Government agencies and health plans are taking small steps toward collaboration on "meaningful use" health IT projects, according to a panel of experts who spoke at the Brookings Institute on May 14. A portion of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides funding for physician adoption of electronic health records, provided they put to "meaningful use," such as post-market surveillance of vaccines and monitoring treatments and outcomes for diseases. "There's a lot of activity around being able to feed those governed, patient-owned data with information from the clinical system," said Farzad Mostashari, senior advisor for policy and programs with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, HHS. "There is more that we can do on that basis, but we also have to think about more the other way: How can we push patient observations and patient data in a way that is accessible to and influences clinical care. There are work-flow problems with this, but it doesn't mean we shouldn't try." FierceGovernmentIT