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The Future of Health Information Technology

Thursday, May 14, 2009

“What is the future of digital healthcare?”

With billions of dollars already committed by the government, the Future of Health Information Technology has yet to be charted. A panel of prominent experts with experience in industry, government, academia, and medicine convened at University of the Sciences to provide a framework for understanding this emerging technology and its limitless potential.

The Department of Health Policy and Public Health at the University’s Mayes College of Healthcare Business and Policy was proud to present this unique forum for policy dialogue. The panel aimed to define a vision for digital healthcare and present an understanding for this emerging technology that has the potential to bring tremendous strides in patient care and population health but also new threats to patient privacy and new opportunities for external intrusions into clinical practice.

Key points

  • Physicians need to know their patients because there is something inherently personal about disease and illness. IT must be used in the service of a goal that is deeply human.
  • Medical school curricula will have to be changed to prepare future physicians to use IT.
  • Standardization is important for the future of health IT. To achieve that goal, some authoritative source, probably the government, will have to set the standards.
  • The people developing health IT are in part responsible for the low adoption rates. They have only focused on increasing efficiency, and they don’t know enough about healthcare to design truly helpful applications.
  • Among the barriers to adoption of IT by physicians is the time it takes for data entry and the learning curve for new technology. E-prescribing is currently the most useful application.
  • Some of the biggest issues in health IT adoption involve sociology and interpersonal dynamics, rather than technology, itself.

Watch selected clips:

Part 1 - Is standardization possible? (6:44 min)

Part 2 - Closing thoughts (5:13 min)

Listen: Download entire audio (1:52 hour)

View : Photo Gallery


Carolyn M. Clancy, MD
Moderator: Carolyn M. Clancy, MD

Carolyn M. Clancy, MD, was appointed Director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in 2003. As Director, she launched the first annual report to the Congress on healthcare disparities and healthcare quality. A general internist and health services researcher, she holds an academic appointment at the George Washington University School of Medicine as clinical associate professor and serves as senior associate editor for the journal Health Services Research

Joseph F. Coughlin, PhD
Joseph F. Coughlin, PhD

Joseph F. Coughlin, PhD, is Director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab, the first multi-disciplinary research program created to understand the behavior of older adults, the role of technology, and the opportunity for innovations to improve quality of life throughout the lifespan. He was named by the Wall Street Journal as one of “12 Pioneers shaping the future of aging and how we will all live, work, and play tomorrow.”

Richard J. Baron, MD, FACP

Richard J. Baron, MD, FACP

Richard J. Baron MD, FACP practices general internal medicine at Greenhouse Internists, a five-physician Philadelphia practice that has been a pioneer in the comprehensive adoption of Electronic Health Records in the small office environment. Dr. Baron, who served as chief medical officer of Health Partners, was the architect of the Best Clinical and Administrative Practices program, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Center for Health Care Strategies. He is the 2008–09 Chair of the American Board of Internal Medicine and a  Trustee of the ABIM Foundation.

Lawrence L. Weed, MD

Lawrence L. Weed, MD

Lawrence L. Weed, MD, is Professor of Medicine Emeritus at the University of Vermont’s College of Medicine and founder of Problem Knowledge Couplers Corp. Dr. Weed is most prominently recognized in the field of health information management as the "Father of the Problem-Oriented Medical Record” (POMR) which provides a structured organization. In addition to Dr. Weed's work in medical informatics, he has spent considerable time conducting nucleic acid research.

About the University

Mayes College at University of the Sciences in Philadelphia

The Mayes College of Healthcare Business and Policy at University of the Sciences in Philadelphia prepares undergraduate and graduate students to make an impact on the critical health and healthcare needs of society, and to compete in the evolving healthcare arena...where public health, health policy, and business concerns intersect. Mayes College is one of the five colleges comprising University of the Sciences. The University specializes in educating its 3,000 students for rewarding careers in pharmaceutical, science, and healthcare industries. Founded in 1821 as the nation’s first college of pharmacy, it is where the founders of six of the top pharmaceutical companies in the world launched their futures.

Department of Health Policy and Public Health

The Department of Health Policy and Public Health at Mayes College offers MPH, MS, and PhD degrees, with curricula focusing on professional analysis and scholarly research in health policy. Ongoing research covers a broad range of topics affecting national health policy debates, including healthcare regulation, urban health, medical interventions in the developing world, geriatric health, pharmaceutical industry structure, and insurance benefit design.

Previous Symposiums

The Future of Health Information Technology is the sixth installment in an ongoing series of symposiums to focus on issues in healthcare.

Request a DVD of a past symposium by filling out the form below. There is no charge.

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Please choose the DVD(s) you would like to reserve:
The Future of Vaccines: Challenges, Success, Opportunities
May 8, 2009

Moderated by Arthur L. Caplan, PhD. Panelists: Alan R. Hinman, MD, PhD; Paul A. Offit, MD; Stanley A. Plotkin, MD; and Thomas M. Vernon, MD

The Future of Drug Safety: Trials, Errors, and the Promise of Pharmaceuticals
March 21, 2007

Moderated by Michael R. Cohen. Panelists: Mark H. Beers, MD; Susan S. Ellenberg, PhD; and Gerald A. Faich, MD, MPH, FISPE

The Future of Public Health: What Will It Take to Keep Americans Healthy and Safe
May 10, 2005

Moderated by Kristine M. Gebbie, DrPH, RN. Panelists: C. Earl Fox, MD, MPH; Jeffrey P. Koplan, MD, MPH; and James S. Marks, MD, MPH.

The Future of Medicaid: What will Medicaid Look Like in 2010?
May 12, 2004

Moderated by Diane Rowland, ScD. Panelists: John Engler, JD; Nina Owcharenko, BS; Alan Weil, JD; and Joy Wilson, MS

The Future of Medicare: What Should Medicare Look Like in 2010?
May 14, 2003

Moderated by Samuel O. Their, MD. Panelists Gail R. Wilensky, PhD; Bruce C. Vladeck, PhD; and Nanvy-Ann DeParle, JD.

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