Farzad Mostashari, MD, ScM, is the national coordinator for health information technology at the Department of Health and Human Services. In a telephone interview with HealthLeaders Media Mostashari spoke about the challenges his office faces, the importance of patients being involved in their care, and how his office is working to protect patient medical records.
HLM: What are three toughest challenges you plan to tackle in 2012?
Mostashari: Adoption of meaningful use, information exchange and interoperability, and maintaining privacy and security. We want 2012 to be a huge year for meaningful use. I think doctors, hospitals, and vendors are geared up. It will be an enormous year for providers who qualify for the incentive, but more importantly to start to establish the information foundation for delivering care that is inconceivably better in all ways—higher quality, safer, more patient-centered, and more coordinated.
It is fantastic to have the records in an electronic format in the doctor's offices and to have those records used to take better care not just of individual patients, but of the entire population of patients.
It is just as important that those records be shared across the different settings when the patient moves from outpatient to inpatient care, then back home or to a long-term care facility, and back to the primary care doctor's office and then to specialist. We're really pushing in major way on information exchange and interoperability.
Of course, what has to be paramount for everybody is the shared responsibility of maintaining the privacy and security of those patient records.