Successful small businesses that grow into medium-sized and large businesses are the key to this country’s future, President Barack Obama told an Ohio audience last week at the “Winning the Future Forum on Small Business”. “When our small businesses do well, America does well,” Obama said.
Standing at the intersection of the small business community and healthcare information technology (HIT), many of our nation’s small IT firms will continue to be called upon to meet the growing HIT needs of patients, physicians, insurance companies and government agencies. But along with this huge opportunity for growth, there are many challenges for small HIT providers, because funding opportunities for capacity and workforce training are sorely limited.
Certainly, we cannot overlook the indirect benefits that will inure to HIT providers under the HITECH Act (which makes Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements available beginning this year for medical providers who implement “meaningful use” of electronic medical records). We also note that Congress has made other attempts to assist in HIT implementation through programs such as a Small Business Administration HIT loan (which was passed by the House last year, but not considered by the Senate). However, none of the legislation passed or proposed would extend assistance or funding to IT professionals and firms that now are gearing up to meet the growing demands of HIT implementation.
Small medical practices are turning to their existing IT providers for assistance in adopting HIT, so it is critical that we take steps to assure that small IT providers are prepared. In order to achieve the vision of HIT deployment in the United States, it is essential that these small medical practices adopt HIT, and small IT firms are the key. This blog marks the first in a series of entries that will focus on HIT regulatory developments and updates, what is happening with inter- and intra-state coordination and education efforts (Exchanges and RECS), and what the broader HIT economics look like. CompTIA will be utilizing resources to help advance the priorities and agenda of our membership, and we encourage you to participate as we help shape the future of HIT to achieve better delivery of and access to medical care in this country.