What about bending the quality curve?
Remapping Debate asked Seidman whether any of the meaningful use criteria specifically addressed the question of underutilization. He pointed to provisions that require EHRs to include “patient reminder” functionality, which prompts physicians and hospitals to follow up with patients and make sure that they are following the recommendations of their doctors.
But aside from those provisions, Seidman said there was nothing in the criteria that would encourage physicians to perform interventions that they are not already doing.
“Obviously some providers are already doing a lot of really important stuff,” he said. “It would be hard,” he claimed, “to ask them to do something new that could take their attention away from an existing priority.”
A focus on quality
According to McCormick, the philosophy that cutting costs means reducing care has profound implications for health policy. If the primary focus was on increasing the quality of care, with reducing costs as a secondary focus, he said, we would be making policy around health IT differently.
“I think we would be less concerned with getting this adopted very quickly by everyone, and more concerned with making sure that it’s being adopted in the best possible way,” he said.
“The cost of care is acknowledged now as the fundamental crisis in the health system, and that’s where the policies are coming from,” he said. “We would be thinking differently if we thought that the fundamental crisis is that millions of people are not receiving the care that they need.”