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DoD official says federal government must innovate faster in healthcare industry

Innovative healthcare IT systems are revolutionizing the way medical practices across the nation are operating.

Innovative healthcare IT systems are revolutionizing the way medical practices across the nation are operating.

Thanks to the myriad technological resources available today, innovation is happening at a more rapid pace now than at any other point in history – so much so that the federal government is apparently having trouble keeping up in some areas.

According to an article at FierceHealthIT, this was the crux of Dave Wennergren's statement at this week's "Digital Innovation in Healthcare" forum held in McLean, Virginia. Wennergren is the assistant deputy chief management officer at the Department of Defense (DoD).

As the article explains, he cited advances in data security, mobility and sharing as reasons why the federal government must pick up the pace.

"The DoD knows about lengthy projects," writes Susan D. Hall, the article's author. "Its integrated electronic [medical] record system, being developed jointly with the Department of Veterans Affairs, is due to be implemented in 2017, but has become bogged down in conflicting IT systems and business practices, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office."

As Wennergren and the DoD are learning, the healthcare sector is not going to stop pursuing innovations that improve the quality of patient care, reduce the costs incurred by medical practices and improve efficiency industry-wide. Failure to embrace such advances in a timely manner could mean being left behind as everyone else moves forward without you.

By taking a proactive position and working with EMR consultants and IT experts, healthcare practices can avoid the delays and other pitfalls that Wennergren freely admits have plagued the DoD. Developing comprehensive, robust IT ecosystems that include electronic medical records, billing and scheduling portals and a host of other assets is the best way for facilities to maximize productivity.