Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Mr. Halvorson Goes To Washington, Recap

Last Friday I wrote about George C. Halvorson's trip to Washington to give testimony to the Senate Finance Committee. Today, I would like to do a small follow up on that post.

Commentary and reporting on Mr. Halvorson's Senate testimony provided by Andrew Noyes on NextGov:

Kaiser Permanente CEO George Halvorson's testimony came as several legislative proposals intended to create a national system of electronic medical records are moving through Congress. Achieving such an overhaul would be daunting, and electronic medical records alone are not sufficient to provide optimal care, Halvorson said.

He called for a special support system that would analyze data from interconnected networks and give physicians prompts to support consistent care delivery and a stand-alone care registry for those Americans who will not have immediate access to integrated health IT. Once a fully computer-supported system is in place, the nation should aim to reduce asthma, congestive heart failure and kidney failure by 50 percent, he said.

Mr. Noyes then proceeds to provide capsule reviews of the responses from the Senate. From the cautious skepticism of Finance Chairman Max Baucus to additional testimony by CBO Director Peter Orszag, he provides a nice summarization of events.

Under Mr. Halvorson's guidance, Kaiser Permanente has become recognized as being at Leading Edge of Health IT, at least according to a piece in U.S. Insurance News a few weeks ago. His focus on the billions in savings, as well as the improvements in treatment it would usher in provide the impetus for his quest to implement IT solutions.

This is far from a new position for Mr. Halvorson. This interview in the San Francisco Chronicle back in 2003 show an almost prescient awareness of the direction we, as a country, have been going as the health care crisis gets worse with each passing month.

What we need is health care reform, and we need it now!

SOURCE: "Panel weighs challenges of adopting health IT overhaul " 07/17/08
SOURCE: " Kaiser Permanente on Leading Edge of Health IT" 06/23/08
SOURCE: "On the record: George Halvorson Kaiser CEO looks at the high cost of health care" 11/16/03
photo courtesy of mdu2boy, used under its Creative Commons license

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