Vice President Joe Biden, alongside Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Dr. David Blumenthal, the Obama administration's National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, leads this roundtable discussion on healthcare reform and the need to ‘modernize the system' with broad implementation of electronic health records (EHRs). Hosted by Mount Sinai Hospital in Chicago on August 20, 2009, the discussion ranges from the keys to improving the coordination of care through EHRs, to enhancing patient safety and reducing privacy concerns, to promoting vital cost and effectiveness measures across the spectrum of care.
Vice President Biden announced the availability of $1.2 billion in federal grants for electronic health record systems. The funding comes from the $787 billion stimulus package passed earlier this year. It is ticketed to finance the creation of EHR technology extension-centers, which will provide clinicians and hospitals with on-the-spot support for the installation and utilization of certified EHR systems. Money is also set aside to help providers attain key incentives to encourage the adoption of EHRs. The administration says grants will be awarded on a rolling basis, with the first awards to be issued in fiscal year 2010.
Panelists included cardiologist Dr. Martha Gulati, geriatrician Dr. June McKoy, and internist Dr. David Baker, all from Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine; emergency room nurse Chere Hamilton, and medical researcher Dr. Steven Whitman, both from Mount Sinai, along with Peter Ingram, Sinai's chief information officer.