Originally published: May 18, 2011
Last updated: May 18, 2011 - 4:14pm
Representatives of several pilot programs that seek to employ quality-care measures and health technology to improve patient care and reduce healthcare costs said at a discussion of the programs in Washington that they have had trouble meeting the effort's latter goal. One year ago, HHS launched the Beacon Communities program, through which 17 selected healthcare communities received federal funding for their efforts to develop secure, private and accurate systems of electronic health-record adoption and health information exchange.
In an event at the Brookings Institution marking the program's one-year anniversary, Beacon Community representatives said they have struggled to integrate and cull the patient data collected by providers fast enough for it to impact ongoing patient care. Sabrina Heltz, senior vice president of healthcare system quality at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, which participates in the Crescent City Beacon Community, said costs continued to increase over the past year, though the rate of growth slowed. Over the long term, the organization aims to keep annual cost increases under 5%, she told event attendees.
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