A Health IT Perspective on Parenting and Policy

Jeff Coughlin

I’m fortunate to be able to approach health IT from a couple of different perspectives: first and foremost, as a consumer (both a parent and a patient), but also as a public policy analyst.

As a parent, knowing what I know from my work in the policy world, it is very comforting to be able to take your child to your pediatrician and see health IT in action—with the higher quality, better coordination, and improved outcomes that accompany the use of technology.

Our pediatrics practice has been very progressive for the last several years—docs and other health professionals have laptops with them for all their patient encounters so they can see the totality of my children’s records. The few times that we have had to take our kids to the ER (thankfully, nothing ever serious in the long-term), when we follow-up with the pediatrician the next day, they already have all the information that they need to ensure that there is continuity across these care settings. Health information exchange in action! I also cannot emphasize enough how much of a blessing it is to have a doctor that e-prescribes when you have a sick child. It makes the whole patient experience so much easier.

In my (other) day job, I’m able to use these experiences to reinforce my advocacy work on how the widespread adoption of EHRs and health IT is laying the foundation to transform healthcare delivery. All of the efforts underway to implement the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and test new value-based care models must be able to successfully leverage health IT. The technology advancements alone are insufficient to transform healthcare, but making the investment in EHR and health IT adoption is putting our nation on the pathway to improving the experience of care, improving the health of populations, reducing per capita costs of health care, and progressing toward a learning health system.

I feel fortunate to be able to work in this field, and be able to learn what I have, and personally experience the benefits of a more wired healthcare system.

#IHeartHIT because as both a parent and a policy analyst, health IT is a critical tool for transforming healthcare and instituting value-based care.

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