Examining how health IT collides with financial incentives
Representatives of hospitals and the Food and Drug Administration will examine whether various technologies are effective in keeping patients out of the hospital at the upcoming ECRI Institute annual conference in Washington.
The topic has been a hot one, particularly with efforts by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT to establish a Health IT safety center. ECRI, a not-for-profit technology assessment group, has established a working group on IT safety with electronic health record and provider representatives, including Epic Systems and the American Medical Association.
Panel moderator Murray Ross, director of Kaiser Permanente’s Institute of Health Policy, said the organizational environment around technology is as important or more important than the technology itself in determining effectiveness. “Technology, as in something you get out of the box, is not something that makes (change) happen,” he said. Many risks to patients, he added, come from “execution risk” rather than anything inherent in health technology.
The overall theme of the conference, which runs Nov. 6-7, is “The ‘New’ Complex Patient: The Shifting Locus on Care and Cost.”
Ross said using technology to keep patients out of the hospital has limited effectiveness as long as hospitals strive to fill beds to gain revenue. “We’ve bet a lot of money on health IT, but we haven’t been able to change a lot of the other enablers in the healthcare system to get what we want from (the technology),” he said.