Mostashari to Brailer: 'Tremendous movement' ahead for Health IT

National Coordinator for Health IT Farzad Mostashari, M.D., predicted 40 percent of primary care providers will have a basic electronic health record by the end of this year and that half will have one within two years in an interview with former national coordinator David Brailer, M.D., that was published in Health Affairs. 

"I anticipate there to be tremendous movement," Mostashari told Brailer, who in 2004 became the nation's first head of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT. "Every indicator we have for Meaningful Use registrations points to a tremendous swelling of interest in activation and adoption of the electronic health records," Mostashari said. 

Brailer pointed out that when he held the job there was less emphasis on adoption and more on interoperability and information sharing, since few providers used EHRs and there were fewer legacy systems to deal with.

Mostashari said the emphasis now is not just on the tools but the adoption of those tools. "The analogy that I like to use is we're not just learning how to play the piano, and we're certainly not doing the equivalent of just paying people to have pianos," he said. "We're paying them to be able to play the pianos and make music in a larger orchestra that has to learn to play together."

Mostashari, who was tapped for the national coordinator position last April has, for the most part, been optimistic about the Meaningful Use process. He told Brailer that he intends to stay in his position "as long as the administration and the [U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary] want me to serve, and I'm still having fun."

Brailer resigned from the position in 2006 and although he lauded the initial proposed Meaningful Use criteria, he also questioned the decision to put the EHR incentive program in the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

To learn more:
- read the full interview (registration required)