Medicolegal Issues

SHM Member in the Spotlight


 

SHM member David Feinbloom, MD, testified before the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Healthcare Financing and Economic Development and Emerging Technologies on May 5, 2005. Dr. Feinbloom was part of a panel of Massachusetts’ healthcare and information systems leaders advocating for additional funding of a statewide initiative to install Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) systems and other advanced information technologies in each hospital across Massachusetts. Dr. Feinbloom is the director of clinical resource management, Department of Medicine, and physician liaison for Clinical Information Systems Development at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Under the leadership of John Halamka, MD, MS, and chief information office of Harvard Medical School and BIDMC, the medical center is a nationally recognized leader in medical information technology.

“The goal of the hearing was to share views about the implementation of advanced technologies like CPOE, one of a series of initiatives to create a statewide medical information technology infrastructure,” says Dr. Feinbloom. “Ultimately, this will include applications such as e-prescribing, online physician-patient communications, and regional data sharing networks, which will improve quality, patient satisfaction, and reduce costs.” He says that currently a parallel initiative for related technologies has a $50 million commitment from Blue Cross and Blue Shield. An additional $210 million is needed to bring inpatient CPOE to all of the hospitals in the state. “We wanted to make sure that the committee understood that despite the seemingly high initial outlay of capital, there is a projected savings of $275 million annually.” The dramatic savings, Dr. Feinbloom says, come from efficiencies in patient throughput, reductions in medication errors and adverse drug events, and improved utilization of inpatient resources. The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative and New England Healthcare Institute are coordinating statewide efforts to remove barriers to inpatient CPOE.

Currently, only 5% to 10% percent of hospitals nationwide have CPOE systems, but that is destined to change, says Dr. Feinbloom, especially if hospitalists lead the charge. “Hospitalists are the natural choice to champion these initiatives,” Dr. Feinbloom says. “We are the experts on inpatient care and hospital systems, and we understand how important information technology is for managing complicated patients during an acute hospitalization. In addition, these technologies have proven indispensable for communicating among care providers and managing the transition from the inpatient to the outpatient setting—a process that is notorious for errors.”

For more information on CPOE implementation or funding, contact Dr. Feinbloom at dfeinblo@bidmc.harvard.edu.

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