A doctor in Rhode Island, per his daily routine, has just updated and closed a patient's chart in the practice's electronic health record. As he punches up the next record or heads to the exam room, a routine of another sort is underway between the EHR and the state's health information exchange database.
Now that Farzad Mostashari, MD, has stepped into his role as the National Coordinator for Health IT, many in the industry who don't know him or his past work very well should take comfort in something he said at his first meeting as ONC head: "I know from personal experience implementing electronic health records in small doctors' offices in some underserved communities in New York and health centers and hospital outpatient partners just how incredibly hard this work."
With a number of Direct Project pilots popping up around the country, healthcare providers who want to have the capability to perform simple exchanges can take heart that this is one technology that is straightforward to use, even if it isn't quite "plug-and-play."
Six health plans in a large scale project demonstrating patient-centered medical homes in New York's Hudson Valley paid incentives of $1.5 million to 236 primary care physicians in 11 practices. These physician practices affect nearly half a million patients in the region.
The locus of health IT efforts has been in Washington so long—in Congress, at Health & Human Services, in long meetings of policy and standards committees— that you might not notice the scene subtly shifting to the nation's physician offices and hospital corridors and out to the surrounding communities.