Inciting a Computer Revolution in Health Care: Implementing the Health Information Technology Act
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This case poses the question: given the ambitious goals of the 2009 Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act and the hurdles to its successful implementation, how should incoming National Coordinator for Health Information Technology David Blumenthal proceed? It is ideal for a class on strategic leadership. The case describes Blumenthal's resources, most notably: *$27 billion in Medicare and Medicaid incentives to hospitals, physicians, and other eligible providers who invested in "certified" electronic health systems and made "meaningful use" of them. *$2 billion in other funds to address specific obstacles to widespread acquisition of health IT systems. *Broad regulatory authority to define "meaningful use" and set certification criteria. It also describes Blumenthal's major challenge: to persuade thousands of hospitals and hundreds of thousands of doctors--many of them skeptical--that health IT systems were worth the time and trouble it would take to buy them and integrate them into daily clinical practice. Small, cash-strapped community hospitals and individual practitioners constituted a particular concern. Finally, it describes the nature of Blumenthal's regulatory task: to define meaningful use quickly and to strike the right balance. Define meaningful use too strictly, and large numbers of health care providers might turn down the proffered incentives. Define it too loosely, and the expensive federal initiative would deliver little more than the market would have produced anyway. The case may be used on its own. It may also be used as the second part of a two-case unit with HKS Case 1937.0, "A. Inciting a Computer Revolution in Health Care: Weighing the Merits of the Health Information Technology Act."
This case includes an 8:00 min. video where David Blumenthal talks about the challenges he faced, in particular when dealing with individual practitioners who didn’t have the bandwidth to adopt electronic health records. Blumenthal explains the arguments he used to persuade them, and reflects more broadly on the timing and stages of this transition to “get information flowing in the healthcare system".
This case poses the question: given the ambitious goals of the 2009 Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act and the hurdles to its successful implementation, how should incoming National Coordinator for Health Information Technology David Blumenthal proceed? It is ideal for a class on strategic leadership.
- Case Author:
- Pamela Varley
- Faculty Lead:
- Mark Moore and John D. Donahue
- Pages (incl. exhibits):
- United States