Health IT in the economic stimulus bill, should we be frightened?

Much has been made of Betsy McCaughey’s analysis of how the economic stimulus package will affect health care.

Although she takes a partisan swipe at the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, perhaps what’s more frightening is that billions of dollars may potentially be poured into an inadequate health IT infrastructure.

Blogging over at Health Care Renewal, MedInformaticsMD asks whether government can succeed as the primary sponsor of ambitious health IT projects (via retired doc). He points towards the UK which, despite already having a government-run health care system, has spent upwards of $17 billion on electronic medical records that “has not accomplished national health IT but instead [is] a quagmire.”

With a larger system, and one that is significantly more fragmented, the challenge to make electronic records universal in the United States is more complex by several orders of magnitude.

The current generation of health IT companies are responsible for the piecemeal state of electronic medical records. “Hopefully the bulk of funds to conduct this needed research will not go to the ‘usual suspects’ in the IT and management consulting industries,” MedInformaticsMD warns, “the same folks who rewarded the UK with such fine results.”