While much attention has been paid to the short-term impact that widespread adoption of health information technology (health IT) will have on the healthcare system, there is a corresponding need to look at the long-term effects that extant policies may have on health IT system resilience, innovation, and related ethical, social/legal issues. The American Medical Informatics Association's 2010 Health Policy Conference was convened to further the national discourse on the issues surrounding these longer-term considerations. Conference participants self-selected into three broad categories: resilience in healthcare and health IT; ethical, legal, and social challenges; and innovation, adoption, and sustainability. The discussions about problem areas lead to findings focusing on the lack of encouragement for long-term IT innovation that may result from current health IT policies; the potential impact of uneven adoption of health IT based on the exclusions of the current financial incentives; the weaknesses of contingency and risk mitigation planning that threaten system resilience; and evolving standards developed in response to challenges relating to the security, integrity, and availability of electronic health information. This paper discusses these findings and also offers recommendations that address the interwoven topics of innovation, resilience, and adoption. The goal of this paper is to encourage public and private sector organizations that have a role in shaping health information policy to increase attention to developing a national strategy that assures that health IT innovation and resilience are not impeded by shorter-term efforts to implement current approaches emphasizing adoption and meaningful use of electronic health records.
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