It could be springtime for health IT

Don't say it too loudly or someone might take it back, but (shhhh) things may be turning around for the health IT business as a whole. While hospitals and clinics may be cutting back hard on building projects, or slowing down the IT projects they do have in force, it seems likely that the Obama administration will be inclined to give IT a boost.

Just look at the Congressional Budget Office report appearing in today's FierceHealthIT newsletter. As you'll see, the CBO has concluded that the only healthcare reform plans that are capable of offering reasonable savings relative to their cost are the health IT plans. The CBO came to that conclusion after examining 115 healthcare reform proposals, so that's not a "shoot from the hip" conclusion, either.

Of course, there's no question that a gusher of money will have to flow out of federal coffers to bring the whole healthcare industry up to the level that will meet the health IT standards assumed by the CBO's report. According to HIMSS, we're talking at least $25 billion just to kick up EMR adoption a notch. And that doesn't even cover a national health network, e-prescribing and other important efforts.

Still, look at it this way: We've got a young, reform-minded president coming into town; we've got an industry consensus (more or less) that health IT can do much to improve the current system; and we've got the CBO saying the dollars make sense. Hey, it all adds up.

Am I being too optimistic? Is there anything that can stop the changes that seem to be underway? Or is it springtime for health IT, for once? - Anne

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