Device Developers Brace for Health Care IT's Impact
This year's annual conference of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society offered strong evidence that progress is being made in implementing electronic medical records, and that at least some hospitals and large physician practices are ready, willing and at times financially able to adopt advanced modes of information technology.
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To succeed in today's market, medical devices not only have to incorporate the latest technology, they also must have the ability to treat patients in the safest and most affordable fashion. A number of efforts in this area are underway, including the movement for "connected health," which requires medical devices to be able to communicate with other devices or systems in the expanding and remote health care arena. In a recent interview, Medtech Insight spoke about the changing environment with Pamela McNamara, president of US operations at Cambridge Consultants Inc. She notes that a medical device is only a single component in a much larger system of operation, and manufacturers need to develop and improve products with that in mind.
The US recession isn't going to slow the push for electronic health records. In fact, the current crisis may actually be helping the initiative, which seeks to have an EHR for every person in the country by 2014. Although most of Washington embraces this task, the main question has been how much the government should spend to get electronic records in the hands of physicians. That question has now been answered with the passage of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which allocates $20 billion for health information technology.
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