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SBM and AMIA Liaison: Meaningful Use is Behavior Change

Susan S. Woods, MD, MPH, Veterans Health Administration

The convergence of high consumer demand for health information and the increasing adoption of electronic health records (EHR) have brought great opportunities to bridge the complementary disciplines of behavioral medicine and informatics. SBM and the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) held two joint events with the goal of strengthening this exciting partnership. There was great attendance at SBM's 2010 pre-conference session, Informatics, eHealth & Behavioral Science, a liaison effort between SBM and AMIA. More recently, the Behavioral Informatics SIG presented a session at the AMIA October 2010 meeting in Washington, D.C., titled Behavioral Science and Informatics: Synergy for Improving Implementation, Research & Outcomes. Panelists included SBM members Rita Kukafka, Columbia University, Susan Woods, Oregon Health & Science University and Veterans Administration, Abdul R. Shaikh, National Cancer Institute, and Josh Seidman, Director of Meaningful Use, Office of the National Coordinator (ONC). Moderated by Vimla Patel, University of Texas, the session focused on applying the richness of behavioral science to medical informatics for improved patient satisfaction and health outcomes.

There is enormous potential to improve the efficiency and safety of healthcare through use of EHRs and personal health records. Complete, accurate and patient-centered information enables clinicians to deliver better care, improves care coordination, and most importantly, can empower patients to take an active role in their health when the information can be readily accessed. New federal incentives and programs are now facilitating provider adoption of EHRs, to achieve certain objectives, referred to as Meaningful Use objectives which include: 1) improve care coordination, 2) reduce healthcare disparities, 3) engage patients and their families, 4) improve population and public health, and 5) ensure adequate privacy and security.

Additional partnership activities are underway between SBM and AMIA. If you are interested in joining this effort or learning more, please contact Dr. Susan Woods at Susan.Woods@va.gov or Dr. David Ahern at dahern@theabacusgroup.com.