Electronic Health Records

Adoption & Implementation News

Mostashari praises HIT Policy Committee as he bids farewell

By Kyle Murphy, PhD

- During his last appearance before the Health Information Technology Policy Committee (HITPC), the departing National Coordinator Farzad Mostashari, MD, ScM, took the opportunity to remind the Federal Advisory Committee of its progress and the work that remains to be done in order for health IT to be a catalyst for healthcare reform.

“There are whole series of new ways of paying for care, paying for value over volume, and our belief from the beginning has been that it is in conjunction with those new shifting incentives for care that the true power of health information technology can improve quality and safety and patient-centeredness can become manifest,” Mostashari said Wednesday during the HITPC’s monthly meeting.

As has been a common theme in his comments to the committee, Mostashari emphasized the importance of viewing health IT adoption as an ongoing process and the need to recognize this technology as a means to an end rather than an end in itself.

“It makes me look anew at the progress we’ve made but also at how we can’t rest,” the departing National Coordinator explained. “We have to keep pushing to reap the true spirit and intent of these terms when we talk about patient registries or decision support or quality measurement or interoperability and transitions of care. We have to dig deeper. It’s not necessarily that much broader, but we do need to go deeper. We need to optimize and we get to the true intent.”

This process of moving forward does not necessarily mean giving up of existing technology, argued Mostashari. Instead, it could include breathing new life into these technologies to make them align with the aims of healthcare reform through health IT. And of emerging importance is bringing this technology to bear on the health of populations:

We need to understand which of our patients have care gaps. We need to prevent those care gaps from happening in the first place by having standardized protocols in place. We need to be able to reach out to patients when they do have a care gap, and we need to be prepared for the visit to close those care gaps and have the right thing be the easy thing to do when they do come in.

Although he is stepping down from his post, Mostashari remains encouraged by the work of the HITPC and expects more good things to come from this diverse collection of healthcare and health IT stakeholders.

“This is my final meeting with you in the Policy Committee, and it’s with great appreciation for the work you’ve done and the direction that you’ve set, the roadmap that has proved remarkably robust even as there have been so many changes over the past for years,” he continued. “The fundamental framework, the conceptual framework for what you’ve done — and it goes beyond meaningful use — has been quite impressive.”

While concluding his remarks, Mostashari revealed that his commitment to the committee would assume a new form, that of listener. “I thank you for your service and I will be listening from now on with rapt attention,” he closed.

Listen to Mostashari’s complete remarks below.

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