Clinton on US Healthcare at HIMSS 2013: "We Can Fix It"

Dan Carotenuto's picture
 By | March 07, 2013
in Data Quality, healthcare, master data management
March 07, 2013


Former president Bill Clinton’s HIMSS 2013 keynote speech in New Orleans further raised awareness of the value of healthcare information technology (IT).  He talked about the "potential of information technology to improve healthcare delivery" and "the role that information technology can play to improve healthcare access and leverage for ordinary people."  
As John Backhouse and I pointed out in our recent white paper, "Improving the Patient Journey, Creating a Single Version of Truth Across the Continuum of Care" the healthcare industry is challenged with duplicate patient records, incomplete medical histories, incorrect medications, clinical errors that cost a whopping $17.1 billion in 2008, and billing mistakes. How do we fix it?  Although we all realize the importance of healthcare IT, a recent Rand Corporation report in the January 2013 issue of Health Affairs noted that "the disappointing performance of health IT to date can be largely attributed to several factors: sluggish adoption of health IT systems, coupled with the choice of systems that are neither interoperable nor easy to use; and the failure of healthcare providers and institutions to reengineer care processes to reap the full benefits of health IT."
It is clear that technology is necessary and will lead the way.  The HITECH Act and Affordable Care Act are some of the types of incentive and compliance programs developed to increase healthcare IT adoption. We are yet to realize the fruits of these efforts.  Clinton noted, "The political, social and healthcare impacts of the Affordable Care Act are yet to be fully determined, because it all depends on how it’s implemented, how some of these inherent difficulties are resolved and about the decisions that we all make outside  the scope of the Affordable  care Act."
Continuous advancements in medicine, technology and global communications show we have the ability to enter a golden age in healthcare towards providing the highest quality of patient care to all citizens.  Clinton noted several times throughout his speech that "we can fix it."  We can and the breadth and scope of healthcare technology at HIMSS13 is a testament to the fortitude and unrelenting push by US healthcare IT organizations to improve the patient journey.
Copyrighted and published by Project HOPE/Health Affairs as Jill Van Den Bos, Karan Rustagi, Travis Gray, Michael Halford, Eva Ziemkiewicz and Jonathan Shreve, "The $17.1 Billion Problem: The Annual Cost Of Measurable Medical Errors," Health Aff. 2011, volume 30, no. 4, 596-603. The published article is archived and available online at 
Copyrighted and published by Project HOPE/Health Affairs as Arthur L. Kellermann, and Spencer S. Jones, "What It Will Take To Achieve The As-Yet-Unfulfilled Promises Of Health Information Technology," Health Aff (Millwood). 2013, volume 32, no. 1, 63-68. The published article is archived and available online at 
"Clinton Urges IT Pros to healp healthcare," Bernie Monegain, Healthcare IT News