Health IT: Where the Big Money is

Spending on information technology to support federal health care is expected to increase 40 percent to $4.5 billion in the next five years, according to a report released today by the federal market research firm Input. The 7 percent compounded annual rate increase may be even larger once standards for the electronic health records are adopted and as more medical records are digitized, Input analysts report.

But the path to electronic health records won't be -- and hasn't been -- easy. As William Hammond, professor emeritus of community and family medicine at Duke University, was quoted in IEEE Spectrum magazine:

We’ve been talking about medical standards harmonization and cooperation for 20 years. Yet no one has defined all the standards needed to support a national health information network, and no one has identified what’s missing.

However, the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs have been one of the leaders in electronic health care. On Feb. 27, Bob Brewin, Government Executive's editor at large, will conduct a webinar with Lt. Col. Edward Clayson to look at how the Army has brought electronic health care to the front lines in Iraq. The Battlefield Health IT webinar will start at 2 pm.

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