IT Update

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—Farzad Mostashari's appointment as the new national coordinator for health IT has been enthusiastically received across the healthcare industry. Analysts generally agree that Mostashari — formerly a practicing physician in New York City — understands the real world implications of health IT adoption. But they also add he has his work cut out for him.

—Sens. Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced the Medicare Data Access for Transparency and Accountability Act. The measure would overturn a 1979 court injunction that bars the government from revealing how much physicians are paid by Medicare. The bill also would require the Department of Health and Human Services to make the data, which would not include patient identities, available at no cost.

—The Department of Veterans Affairs will launch a pilot project intended to improve the delivery of veterans' health information. The new effort involves the Richmond VA Medical Center and MedVirginia (MedVA), a healthcare IT group formed in 2000 by a consortium of Virginia healthcare providers. Both organizations will partner to create a comprehensive health information network for exchanging health information. They will use the VA's Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER) Health program.

—Fully 70% of American adults think the country's healthcare system should be completely changed, and a large majority want their care to include health IT, a Commonwealth Fund-backed survey has found. The poll was conducted by Harris Interactive. In all, 1,011 adults were surveyed between Feb. 7 and Feb. 11. Most reported problems with accessing healthcare services and care coordination.

—Health IT adoption is necessary if major delivery system reform is to happen, finds a study from the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative, Government Health IT reports. The report, “Better to Best: Value-Driving Elements of the Patient-Centered Medical Home and Accountable Care Organizations,” examined the benefits of patient-centered medical homes and accountable care organizations.