Welcome to my blog! I'm Joe Goedert, news editor at Health Data Management magazine.

I confess up front to being a rookie blogger, an old-school reporter not entirely comfortable with the blogging world. But I've been covering health I.T. for 18 years now and have been given rein to start being more vocal about what I've seen over that time and what you all have taught me. I specialize in policy and regulation reporting, and the past year has seen an extraordinary increase in the government's influence over health I.T. because of the HITECH Act.

I like the goals of HITECH to dramatically ramp up EHRs and health information exchange, and I like the new privacy and security protections in the Act. I believe the breach notification rule, with its public posting of large breaches, has awakened an industry that was slipping in its duty to protect health information. But I don't see HITECH achieving its EHR goals unless policymakers quickly get realistic with their meaningful use requirements. And will someone please explain to me why our national HIE strategy in large part still rests on a discredited model that simply won't work in the vast majority of the country?

And now comes the new health reform law, with needed provisions to expand the HIPAA transactions and make them far more standardized. With the new law comes the possibility I may have to eat crow because of a commentary I recently wrote (click here). I asserted that the law had unreasonable timetables to add operating rules to the HIPAA transactions to make them more uniform. But what I'm learning in reporting for a follow-up story is that with a few of these rules already written, the toughest work of getting folks to the table and compromising is over. Consequently, there is considerable support--and momentum--in the industry for the operating rules and the timetables should easily be met. Still, considerable work remains to get Medicare and Medicaid programs fully on board. We'll find out in due time who's right about the timetables.

So, I guess this is what blogging is about. I spout off and you either agree or take me to the woodshed. But I hope we go beyond this, making the blog also your soapbox. And please, send me your tips and news either to this blog or my e-mail, joseph.goedert@sourcemedia.com.


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