HR 6898 - Your Call to Get the #$%^ Off The Proverbial Couch

Two days ago I posted about HR 6898, the Health e-Information Technology Act (HEITA) of 2008.

Bob Coffield wrote an excellent post here at the Health Care Law Blog calling attention to the bill and providing further vital details (the bill is currently in committee, a link to Congressman Stark's webpage, etc).

A new e-colleague Steve Ambrose emailed me the following comments after reading. Thanks Steve, for allowing me to share. I hope other medical pros will follow your example and read the bill:

"I read the proposed bill ad nauseum.
This looks like it could get mighty cumbersome and extremely bureaucratic. I really can't wait to see how long it takes to agree on a uniform data set. Also, don't be surprised if that $10 million in grant monies for HIT in academia is spoken and secured even before the bill passes. And the little guy seems to get the little print.

I don't like it. My innate sense is that things are going to get a bit more sticky in the next few years, with more health systems growing out and capturing more market share. I feel as though the small practices will be purchased or simply lose so much share of business that they will be forced to sell or close. I just feel like this bill probably started off with good intentions and is heading in the wrong direction.

Where are the days of the good ol' country doctor, the home visit and Sunday being a day of rest?"

It's particularly ironic timing for me to have read a bill about eHealth from start to finish, as I'm spending close to 14 hours a day preparing eHealth, mHealth and HIT companies to present at Health 2.0 next week.

As the team works with execs to refine, refine, refine presentation language and tweak formats to ensure maximum message download packaged into minimum duration (they have 3.5 mins to impart their messages), I'm wishing Stark would throw an open Health 2.0 on the Hill day.

Hell. I'm thinking Matthew Holt and Indu Subaiya should present a call to arms at Health 2.0, and suggest this. Double hell. I'm thinking if they don't, I will.

If I could march onto the Hill and show Congress what I want eHealth to be, it would look suspiciously like Ted Eytan's crowdsourced definition of Health 2.0, or the Nexthealth vision (complete semantic interoperability of health = healthcare goods and services will be available to consumers, online and offline, at will).

It would look like efficient, empathic care. It would look like conversations between physicians, patients, caregivers, and providers.

It would be enabled by incentives that pay docs to talk with me about my healthcare and wellness goals. It would be enabled by tech that fits into my palm. Tools that seamlessly integrate into my life, like my new Zuri (beta tester!) that would beep and remind me to exercise and take my glucosamine chondroitin.

I don't have time to march to the Hill. Like most of you, I'm too busy trying to save healthcare by waving my little white flag over here at Health Management Rx, and at Nexthealth.

Neither do you, right? I don't have the time to lobby, you might be thinking (or the money). And I can't afford the 2 hours to read that bill and form my own opinion...

Bollux. It's not all about PACS. Sometimes it's about conversations. Determination. Reading the bill draft, from first sentence to last. Sit down with a glass of red wine. A cup of tea. Rediscover what it feels like to have a cause, because if the blogosphere doesn't, no one else will.

In this case, dear healthcare readers, you can't afford NOT to lobby. That is, unless you believe consumer-centric PHR development should be killed in the cradle.

There is so much of value in this coming show in San Francisco that it's hard to know where to begin. It's not all fairies and snowflakes and puppy dog tails, but it does gather a unique crowd of entrepreneurs, docs, bloggers, and assorted sundry healthcare types.

As a result, it's like bootcamp for the industry sector. Come as a groundling (for all you Shakespeare fans) to throw jeers, or come to cheer the efforts of companies like Organized Wisdom, Hello Health, and Change Healthcare.

I'd like to issue a challenge, an open call, and invite members of Congress and staffers working on this bill to show up at Health 2.0 next week.

Tomorrow, I will be calling the offices of my Congressional representatives (the ones that represent me when I'm stateside at home in St. Mary's County, Maryland) and extending the invitation personally.

We'll put you to work on the volunteer staff. You can trade labor and some time in the trenches at the conference.

Nothing's free at Health 2.0. Trade your time for our knowledge. I bet you'll learn more listening in on hallway conversations than you would reading 500 pages of white papers back in DC.

Plus, there will be press.

And don't you want to talk about something besides Main Street versus Wall Street?!

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