Comparing it to “a daunting transformation to clinicians” and for the overall healthcare system, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology David Blumenthal yesterday addressed recent concerns from healthcare providers on the nationwide implementation of health IT.
“I know many clinicians are unsure how they will develop or strengthen their skill set to incorporate using health IT efficiently and effectively without jeopardizing their communication with patients during a clinical visit,” Blumenthal said in an e-mail statement. “It seems like a daunting transformation to clinicians themselves and, indeed, for our healthcare system overall.”
The health IT coordinator said the success of the implementation of the HITECH Act depends on “people who are passionate about improving patient care, and who are supported in making those improvements.”
The Department of Health and Human Services has so far awarded $84 million to 16 institutions of higher education to fund the Health IT Workforce Development Program, which focuses on several key resources required to rapidly expand the availability of health IT professionals who will support broad adoption and use of health IT in the provider community.
“The Workforce Development Program is one of the best examples of the depth of thought behind the HITECH Act,” Blumenthal said. “We could spend many billions of dollars developing, incentivizing and implementing health IT solutions, but without an effectively trained workforce, our efforts would fall short of their ultimate goal of improving patient care.”