Taren Grom, Editor
NOTE: The content below contains the first few paragraphs of the printed article and the titles of the sidebars and boxes, if applicable.
Publisher Lisa Banket Editor Taren Grom Creative Director Marah Walsh Managing EDitor Denise Myshko Senior EDitor Robin Robinson features EDitor Kim Ribbink Contributing Editor Carolyn Gretton design associate Ariel Medel national account manager Cathy Tracy CIRCULATION Assistant Kathy Deiuliis Copyright 2009 by PharmaLinx LLC, Titusville, NJ Printed in the U.S.A. Volume Nine, Number Nine PharmaVoice (ISSN: 1932961X) is published monthly except August and December, by PharmaLinx LLC, P.O.?Box 327, Titusville, NJ 08560. Periodicals postage paid at Titusville, NJ 08560 and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to PharmaVoice, P.O. Box 292345, Kettering, OH 45429-0345. PharmaVoice Coverage and Distribution: Domestic subscriptions are available at $190 for one year (10 issues). Foreign subscriptions: 10 issues US$360. Contact PharmaVoice at P.O.?Box 327, Titusville, NJ 08560. Call us at 609.730.0196 or FAX your order to 609.730.0197. Contributions: PharmaVoice is not responsible for unsolicited contributions of any type. Unless otherwise agreed in writing, PharmaVoice retains all rights on material published in PharmaVoice for a period of six months after publication and reprint rights after that period expires. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Change of address: Please allow six weeks for a change of address. Send your new address along with your subscription label to PharmaVoice, P.O. Box 292345, Kettering, OH 45429-0345. Call us at 800.607.4410 or FAX your change to 937.890.0221. E-mail: email@example.com. Important notice: The post office will not forward copies of this magazine. PharmaVoice is not responsible for replacing undelivered copies due to lack of or late notification of address change. Advertising in PharmaVoice: To advertise in PharmaVoice please contact our Advertising Department at P.O.?Box 327, Titusville, NJ 08560, or telephone us at 609.730.0196. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stimulating Efficiency In February, President Obama signed into law the economic stimulus, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). One aspect of the law — the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act — provides funds for hospitals and healthcare providers to implement electronic health records. The first of these funds were granted in August, with the U.S. government announcing grants of almost $1.2 billion to help hospitals and healthcare providers establish and use electronic health records. In total, $19.5 billion for healthcare information technology. When used effectively, experts believe EHRs can enable providers to deliver healthcare more efficiently. The economy will benefit from an investment in health IT; according to research by IBM and the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, investing $10 billion in EHR and other health-related IT projects would create 212,000 jobs. Deloitte reported earlier this year that investing in e-prescribing and electronic medical records, along with better coordination of patient care through primary-care doctors, would result in 10-year savings of $530 billion. Experts say patients will benefit from an investment in health IT as well. When used properly, EHR systems can help keep patients safe by alerting clinicians to harmful drug interactions or allergic reactions to prescribed medicines and helping clinicians manage the health of patients with complex chronic conditions. But very few providers — as of 2006, about 12% of physicians and 11% of hospitals —have adopted it, according to a May 2008 report by The Congressional Budget Office. The CBO reports says several factors may explain the low rate of adoption, including the challenges that arise in implementing the systems, the inability of providers to capture all of the financial returns of the health IT systems, and uncertainty about the value of the advantages to be gained. But an April 2009 report by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society finds that almost 70% of U.S. hospitals are only two steps or less away from having the health IT applications necessary to meet the objects of ARRA. Among physicians, 4% physicians report having an extensive, fully functional electronic-records system, and 13% report having a basic system, according to a survey reported by the New England Journal of Medicine in July 2008. As discussed by our experts in the Forum on page 10, this HITECH law will impose new privacy and security requirements on covered entities. Some experts predict that HITECH is likely to be disruptive to the pharma industry, especially with regard to clinical development and health economic outcomes research. There is potential to shorten R&D cycles, by having the ability to find and recruit patients faster and faster and easier documentation of trials. In addition, interoperability will enable faster reporting of adverse events. But Deloitte experts stress that to fully take advantage of the benefits of electronic records, companies will have to address their traditionally siloed organizational structure, which leads to antiquated technology infrastructures with compatible data sources. The forum for the industry executive Volume 9 • Number 9 Send your letters to email@example.com. Please include your name, title, company, and business phone number. Letters chosen for publication may be edited for length and clarity. All submissions become the property of PharmaLinx LLC.