Sunday, August 29, 2010

VP Touts Innovation Report

On August 24th, Vice President Biden detailed how the Recovery Act has played a part in funding innovation to build a more robust and competitive economy. The report “Recovery Act: Transforming the American Economy through Innovation” describes how investments in broadband, the smart grid, and health information technology is building out a 21st century infrastructure.

According to the Vice President, the report details how the HIT spending of $250 million to fund the Beacon Community program will showcase how HIT when used in combination with other delivery system improvements will transform how communities can manage health outcomes.

Three examples in the report describe how the Beacon Community program will use the funds:

• Eastern Main Healthcare Systems in Bangor Maine is using $12.8 million to improve home-based care and reduce unnecessary emergency department visits. The goal is to reduce avoidable emergency department visits by 15 percent. This will translate to a 7.000 visit reduction locally totaling $2 million in savings per year. The award will also be used to link healthcare providers to the existing HIE to promote telemedicine

• Southern Piedmont Community Care Plan, in Concord, South Carolina will use the $15.7 million award to increase the number of patients with well controlled blood pressure and lipids, and to help reduce the number of children with asthma that end up in the emergency department. This can translate to 14,000 people with reduced risk of heart attacks and strokes and 2 percent fewer childhood asthma patients ending up in the emergency department. The funding will provide for electronic health management and telemedicine equipment plus there are plans to develop an indexed image repository to avoid duplicate x-rays

• Western New York Clinical Information Exchange in Buffalo New York will use their $16.1 million award to help diabetics avoid hospitalizations and emergency department visits. The funding will be used to purchase clinical decision support tools such as registries, point-of-care alerts, and to develop and use new telemedicine solutions. The goal is for 5,000 patients with diabetes to improve control of their blood sugar and avert as many as 2,300 complications. This should reduce the number of emergency department visits by 15 percent and prevent hospitalizations and re-admissions for individuals with diabetes and congestive heart failure. In the end, this will help communities save $1.1 million per year starting in 2010

The report also highlights the fact that the Department of Veterans Affairs e-Care technologies along with telemedicine have dramatically reduced unnecessary hospitalizations through wide ranging efforts to help veterans manage chronic conditions at home. Hospital use has decreased by 25 percent overall and 50 percent for patients in highly rural areas. This has been accomplished by linking 32,000 chronically ill veterans with healthcare providers and care managers using video phones, digital cameras and messaging and telemonitoring.

To view a new innovation web page, go to and to download the report, go to