With passion and emotion not seen in his predecessors, National HIT Coordinator Farzad Mostashari, M.D., keynoted HIMSS12 on Feb. 23, sharing his journey from leading the drives for public health surveillance and improved care and population management through better access to information in the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to now leading the national drive to bring clinicians into the Information Age.

Following enactment of the HITECH Act in 2009 Mostashari was invited to join a group with the task of defining what the “meaningful use” of electronic health records in the law meant, and soon after joined the Office of the National Coordinator as a deputy national coordinator.

ONC started rolling out its stimulus-funded programs in 2010 and Mostashari ticked off a number of accomplishments. In the past two years, for instance, more progress has been made on EHR adoption then during the past 20 years, he said. “I predict that by next year, the majority of care will be done on EHRs.” In 2009, 40 percent of rural pharmacies could not accept electronic prescriptions and that number today is below 10 percent. He also cited Bureau of Labor Statistics data that 50,000 jobs have been created in the health information technology segment since HITECH.

But now, with release of the proposed rules for Stage 2 of EHR meaningful use, comes the next big step, Mostashari told HIMSS12 attendees. Stage 2 has far more emphasis on interoperability and data exchange, and now is the time to use the interoperability standards and vocabularies that exist to support more coordinated care, he asserted. “Stage 2 is a real push ahead for meaningful use.”
Stage 2 requirements will create a “meaningful use platform” that gives providers the information they need to better navigate a quickly changing reimbursement system that reflects the value of care, Mostashari said. Making “meaningful use of meaningful use” can be the foundation for providers to survive and thrive in a new health care environment, he asserted.

To further support data exchange, ONC will work during 2012 on development of trustee agreements on how to use and disclose the data, he added.

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