This holiday season, happiness is (and will always be) for those unencumbered by material things, plain good health and for those who are afforded less than an optimum condition – improved patient outcomes.
I’m sure if you’re following current news and events on healthcare, you can’t help reading about the US initiative called ‘Meaningful Use’. Just the same, if you haven’t, feel free to read about a good description of what’s it all about here. Indeed, it has gotten so big and contentious that even across American shores, it is a topic that begs to be discussed. With luck, I was fortunate to be able to attend the visiting medical informatics expert Dr. Cupid Gascon‘s talk this week entitled “Meaningful Use: A Roadmap for the Philippine Health IT Infrastructure”.
He began by reflecting on health informatics seen as an innovation. As with any type of innovation, some eventually succeed while a big lot fails due to a bunch of reasons by which other healthcare developments can be bunched with. A lively group of students who made up most of the attendees chimed in and discussed barriers on local health informatics implementations that essentially are universal in nature. From lack of openness among physicians to the high learning curve among other caregivers, everyone agreed that innovation success owes a great deal to favorable socially-governed principles, that innate technological improvement does not guarantee adoption.
Dr. Gascon described how the Meaningful Use act in the US came to be. He explained key provisions on what hospitals and professionals must do to be able to reap the benefits of this investment for the incentive schemes. I was actually surprised to learn of the simplicity of measures required for eligibility for the incentives. The catch, however, was that setting up a health informatics program incurs huge amounts of cost, of which many providers were simply not ready to bear.
It does seem that healthcare has really moved further away from what medicine and patient treatment is about in the first place. Like other noble endeavors, it is now a muddled mess of interests. Health care stakeholders find it more and more difficult to be focused on improving patient health outcomes and not worry about keeping businesses afloat. Local health care advocates should carefully monitor how these things will turn out. Will the subtle strong-arm tactics employed by the US federal government to ensure that a modicum of health informatics is adopted really work this time?
Need fresh infusion
Applied to the local setting, this is a tall order if you consider tight budgets, high learning curves, and political misappropriations. But since it’s Christmas, we can afford to dream and even for a brief moment, be enlightened to wish everyone especially loved ones, good health more than anything. Hopefully, we don’t stray too far from this thought when it comes to actually decide on the best courses of action to improve our healthcare system this coming year.
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