Barack Obama's 2008 Technology Position Paper: Part 4 of 5
In November, U.S. Democratic Party Presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama released his 2008 technology policy position paper. The paper is entitled: Barack Obama: Connecting and Empowering All Americans Through Technology and Innovation.
I reviewed this paper for the non-partisan politics-information site PoliticalBase.
Here's Part 4 of my 5-part analysis:
Now we turn to Section IV of Sen. Barack Obama's 2008 technology policy position paper. The paper is entitled: Barack Obama: Connecting and Empowering All Americans Through Technology and Innovation.
Section IV explains how we should "Employ Technology and Innovation To Solve Our Nation's Most Pressing Problems."
In some ways, this is the most comprehensive of the five sections in Sen. Obama's technology vision for our nation.
Some strike me as dangerously approaching "well, duh" territory. "Create New Jobs?" I have yet to read of a politician to endorse stripping our private sector of economy of domestically located jobs so that a small cabal of institutional, hedge funds, and private equity investors are happy. But that is what is going on now, and must be addressed.
Upgrade education by teaching more math and science, and ensuring broadband access in the nation's classrooms? Ya think?
Invest in climate friendly energy development and deployment, and cut global warming in the process? Woo hoo!!
Now that we've gotten those subjects out of the way, I do have to say that what Obama writes about using tech to lower health care costs is, without much doubt, the most inspired vision Obama articulates in this Section 4 of his five-section document.
Tell it, Senator:
A key feature of Barack Obama's health care plan is the use of technology to lower the cost of health care. Most medical records are still stored on paper, which makes them difficult to use to coordinate care, measure quality, or reduce medical errors.
Processing paper claims also costs twice as much as processing electronic claims. Barack Obama will invest $10 billion a year over the next five years to move the U.S. health care system to broad adoption of standards-based electronic health information systems, including electronic health records. He will also phase in requirements for full implementation of health IT and commit the necessary federal resources to make it happen.
Obama will ensure that these systems are developed in coordination with providers and frontline workers, including those in rural and underserved areas. Obama will ensure that patients' privacy is protected. A study by the Rand Corporation found that if most hospitals and doctors offices adopted electronic health records, up to $77 billion of savings would be realized each year through improvements such as reduced hospital stays, avoidance of duplicative and unnecessary testing, more appropriate drug utilization, and other efficiencies.
Obama will make the Veterans Health Administration, the nation's largest integrated health system, a model in the use of technology to modernize and improve health care delivery. To ensure that veterans get the best care possible, he will improve electronic records interoperability between the Pentagon and VA, expand effectiveness research, promote wellness programs, and use technology to improve the accountability for performance and quality.
We're far from a system of electronic health records. Privacy concerns, as well as old-fashioned Luddite tendencies, can be seen in private practtices as well as large health care facilities. Not only would a President Obama (how does that sound to your ears?) really need to work the bully pulpit on that one- but appoint those who would shake up the existing culture that has precluded comprehensive electronic health record systems from being the norm rather than the exception.
Tomorrow morning, I'll post my reaction to Section 5 of this paper: how to "Improve America's Competitiveness."
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