Obama Continues To Tout Health IT as a Key to Health Reform


As President Obama continued his push to reform the U.S. health care system, he highlighted the Cleveland Clinic as a model for how effective health IT systems can improve care and lower costs, Healthcare IT News reports.

Obama visited the Cleveland Clinic on Thursday and viewed a presentation on the center’s health IT initiatives.

Cleveland Clinic executives also spoke with the president about patient-centered health IT projects involving Microsoft HealthVault, Google Health and MyChart. MyChart currently connects 202,000 patients to an online portal for appointment scheduling, prescription management, preventive health reminders and test results.

C. Martin Harris, Cleveland Clinic’s CIO and a member of HHS’ Health IT Standards Committee, said the center “is developing health IT that gives patients the power to better manage their health care.”

Harris added that the Cleveland Clinic is “focused on helping lead the nation toward a comprehensive electronic medical records system that will reduce medical errors, improve quality and lower costs.”

During a town-hall meeting later that day, Obama said the Cleveland Clinic has “one of the best health IT systems in the country.” He said the center’s electronic health technology allows it to:

  • Boost patient care;
  • Coordinate with other health workers in the community;
  • Improve chronic disease management;
  • Monitor treatment efficacy;
  • Reduce duplicate testing; and
  • Track patient health and progress.

Obama said, “And here’s the remarkable thing: They actually have some of the lowest costs for the best care” (Monegain, Healthcare IT News, 7/24).

Ezekiel Emanuel, a physician and health policy adviser to the Obama administration, said the Cleveland Clinic has a “fantastic health IT system, which is a necessary component of changing the game” in health care reform (Brown, Washington Post, 7/23).

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