ONC David Blumenthal spoke to a full house on Wednesday as the keynote speaker at the HIMSS Conference in Atlanta. He said he was a new comer to HIMSS, this being his first time there. He spoke about the ONC and the last 10 months of work producing the current proposed rules. Even though there will be even more work ahead, Blumenthal says he thinks the “wind is at our back in so, so many ways.”
As a former practicing physician, Blumenthal was an early adopter of EMRs and said it made him a better doctor. He repeated his now rather famous line, “I came to understand that information is the lifeblood of healthcare, and Health IT is destined to be the circulatory system.”
The CMS proposed rules defines meaningful use and every objective is directly linked to improving patient health. Adopting and regulating standards were proposed in the ONC rules but selection was made not to inhibit critical innovation. Supporting change from many directions will amount to social change. And he believes focusing on community will change healthcare.
Keeping the focus on the value to patients and the promise to individual and population health, Blumenthal says, “we will not go astray in our efforts to implement healthcare IT,”. The ONC has to complete the proposed rules and issue final rules. He stated the focus of the ONC would then be transition from creating policy to facilitating the implementation of electronic health records.