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National Health IT Week Blog Carnival

Posted Sep 16 2013 2:11pm
National Health Information Technology Week is an event with various activities in Washington D.C. and communities all around the country. Over at healthitweek.org they have a good list of ten ways to participate in National Health IT Week. I am looking forward to hosting the National Health IT Week Blog Carnival which will run from September 16-20, 2013. This year the theme is "The Value of Health IT." My first post this week is on the achieving the value of health IT through the use of analytics . Below are a few of the early posts to kick off the carnival that I want to highlight, and then I'll be updating this post each day during National Health IT Week as the posts come rolling in.

NHIT Week Day One

One of the major highlights of day one of NHIT Week was the 8th Annual Consumer Health IT Summit (which Lygeia Ricciardi, the ONC Consumerista wrote about last week). US Chief Technology Officer Todd Park spoke at the event and set the focus on Blue Button. He termed it a movement which allows patients to access their data and share it with their clinicians and family members. Robert Tagalicod, director of eHealth at CMS said over one million CMS patients used Blue Button to access their information. Marina Martin, the CTO at the VA, which really started this Blue Button movement, spoke about the VA no longer just provides dumb ASCII text but now supports continuity-of-care documents to veterans in a machine readable and actionable format. Todd Park talked about how investors entrepreneurs have embraced Blue Button which Farzad Mostashari, the current national coordinator for Health IT, said this shows what a great idea was developed and incubated by the government and has now filtered into the private sector. Government as a platform for innovation!

  • Brian Parrish of Dodge Communications wrote " NHIT week: the impact of population health on the HIT space ." This post is a Q&A with Healthcare Informatics ’ Editor-in-Chief, Mark Hagland, focusing on population health management. Mark emphasizes how important it is for the industry to not rely on a single “off the shelf” population health management solution, but instead encourages health IT leaders to leverage existing IT in a skillful, strategic approach. The post really highlights analytics as a particularly valuable health IT tool.
  • Over on the entarasys blog Ali Youssef, the Senior Wireless Solutions Architect at Henry Ford Health System and member of the mHIMSS advisory council, wrote " Is it time for a dedicated mHealth manager, and team? " about the need for a dedicated mHealth manager and team. He disagrees with the thought that mHealth is a silo in an organization and will not need its own distinction in the future. In his opinion, this view takes for granted the level of expertise required to ensure seamless mobility functions properly, along with the patient data security and privacy measures.
  • Dave Levy, Senior Account Manager at SHIFT Communications (disclosure: SHIFT does the PR for HIMSS) wrote a  blog carnival recap of his own entitled " What We Talk About When We, The Communicators and Patients, Talk Health IT ." The post offers a glimpse at the work of the SHIFT HealthyComms team . To answer the question of the value of health IT, Dave states that it comes back to one answer: there is a way technology can make our health needs more about care and less about paperwork. He the highlights three recent HealthyComms posts that touch on this topic.
  • Carla Smith, Executive Vice President at HIMSS wrote " How Do You Measure the Value of Health IT? " which stays with the theme of the “value of health IT.” Carla takes her post one step further by answering the question that many providers and health IT advocates in the healthcare industry are facing today: what proof do you have of the value of health IT? The post includes a series of proof points, including data from CMS and data from a HIMSS Davies Award winner, Hawai’i Pacific Health. The data from the latter organization is available in HIMSS’ Health IT Value Suite , a new robust library of value-focused, evidence-based use cases documenting the value of health IT.
  • Beth Walsh, the Editor at Clinical Innovation + Technology , wrote a post called " The value of health IT ." In it Beth highlights the fact that health IT not only offers financial benefits, but it also improves elements of patient care such as patient safety and clinician efficiency. She sees the value of health IT demonstrated by its ability to transform our healthcare system into one that is truly focused on health, a focus achieved through the coordination of vast amounts of available data from multiple resources throughout our healthcare system.
  • Jonathan Handler, M.D., the CMIO at M*Modal, wrote " Recycling Automation Back Into HIT " offering examples of how health IT’s ability to automate tests, labs and even clinical documentation that directly supports patient care. However, health IT is being underutilized on one key administrative area because of the current fee-for-service model: billing. Dr. Handler asserts that the current fee-for-service, many clinicians believe that health IT can lead to fraud accusations, forcing clinicians to re-document information that’s already in a medical record. If we move to a value-based model, provider and payor incentives would align rather than conflict, and HIT automation would be seen as desirable rather than deceitful. This trend is already growing across the industry but has yet to become the norm, but perhaps that will change by NHIT Week 2014?
  • Trey Lauderdale, the Founder and President of Voalte, penned " Nurse Communication is Just Beginning " where he highlights the proliferation of mobile health, specifically smartphones and tablets, as an example of health IT’s value and how it is improving the way caregivers deliver patient care. Trey focuses on a few key examples including the ability for clinicians to easily review imaging reports with patients at the point of care and the ability to move and share information with patients with speed.
  • Blair Butterfield, President, US Management at VitalHealth, posted " What is the value of health IT? " where he takes readers back to basics and reminds everyone that we must remember to observe the value of health IT through the lens of caring for patients. Blair then looks at several key factors and breaks down each accordingly: efficiency, accuracy, accessibility, quality and cost.
  • K Royal, the Privacy Counsel at Align Technology and the International Association of Privacy Professionals, has an interesting write up " On Where Health IT and Privacy Meet ." To address the value of health IT, K Royal highlights what she deems as “leading topics in health IT,” offering specific praise for the advanced level of patient care that telehealth and telesurgery affords providers. But K Royal cautions that in order to seize and maximize upon these benefits and advancements in patient care, the healthcare industry must collaborate with all stakeholders from day one. For example, IT developers should be working hand-in-hand with patient privacy experts at the initial point of creation, not retrospectively.
  • Alan Portela, the CEO of Air Strip, wrote on Mobile Health Matters " An Industry Retrospective Demands a Call to Action " where he offers cautious praise for the value of health IT, imploring that health IT vendors must collaborate with each other to offer solutions the provider can use today. Alan reflects on the various events that he feels have placed an undue financial strain on hospitals and health systems across the country which includes the following: introduction of reimbursement penalties, the politics of the ACA and Obama’s election, unexpected sequestration cuts, industry consolidation (ex. Vanguard Health Systems and Tenet Healthcare), ICD-10 and MU Stage 2.
  • Jon Mertz, the Vice President of Marketing, Corepoint Health, wrote the catchy post " What’s the Value of Health IT? It’s About Me, Me, Me " (perhaps Ross Martin, MD could make this into a song? :) Jon brings back the value of health IT to the patient, encouraging what we in the healthcare industry refer to as “patient engagement.” As his aptly titled post indicates, health IT should be about “me, me, me.” Examples of simple ways to become an engaged patient include: maintaining a healthy lifestyle and tracking it accordingly, be active members of support communities to encourage our peers or fellows patients to become engaged and know that we (patients) have the right to have easy access to our medical history at any point in our lives.
  • CDW Healthcare posted " Patient Satisfaction Rx? Health IT " and identified ways in which health IT are already adding value to the patient care via patient satisfaction. Examples of specific health IT initiatives include EMRs, patient engagement tools and technologies to streamline check-ins at doctor visits. CDW Healthcare asserts that IT offers ways to provide patients with better (and more) information and that this is the key to improving patient care.
  • Elizabeth Boehm, the Director of National Patient Experience Collaborative at Vocera wrote " WHEN TECHNOLOGY IS HUMANIZING " where she plays off of the common ding against health IT in that technology lacks the same warmth and human touch as, well, humans. But there are examples of when health IT can offset the limitations of human-to-human interactions. These examples include bridging physical gaps (telehealth), reinforced communications and virtual support groups.
  • Reid Coleman, MD,the CMIO of Evidence-Based Medicine at Nuance wrote " How Health IT Can Help Physicians Master the Evolving Patient Narrative ." Dr. Coleman highlights the capabilities of clinical language understanding technology, demonstrating its value to healthcare by its ability to make clinical documentation easier for physicians, allowing them to perform at the top of their license.
  • And Chad Johnson, the Managing editor of HL7Standards.com and marketing communications manager at Corepoint Health, wrote " It’s Not Complicated: Health IT Makes Our Lives Better " where he discusses how health IT provides information and allows connections in many ways: payers to providers, providers to other providers, caregivers to patients, and now the most fundamental connection of patients to data about their care and their bodies.

NHIT Week Day Two

  • We start day two of the NHIT Week Blog Carnival with Jane Sarasohn-Kahn of the very popular HEALTHPopuli blog and a health economist and management consultant who wrote the post " Healing the Patient-Doctor Relationship with Health IT ." Jane focuses on the consumer adoption and involvement in personal health IT, pointing to recent findings that show most health-engaged people may trust a physician less than a non-engaged patient. Simultaneously, these patients are also turning to online health resources (over physicians) for health information. In order to preserve the doctor-patient relationship, Jane asserts that providers must “open up the digital health kimono – EHRs” in order to successfully transition from the volume-based payment model to the value-based model.
  • Russell P. Branzell, President and CEO at CHIME wrote the important piece " HIT Capabilities – They Are Personally Important to Me ." Russell shares how he has personally witnessed the power of health IT through a personal story. His son was diagnosed with Landerhans Cell Histiocytosis, a rare cancer-like blood disorder, four years ago and while the experts that can treat his son are within the state, they are still 65 miles away at Denver Children’s Hospital. Health IT enabled the remote treatment of Rusell’s son, making him one of the first non-adult chemotherapy patients treated and managed remotely by the experts at Children's Hospital. Russell and family are glad to report that there is a happy outcome to this story: after intensive treatments during his junior and senior year of high school, Russell’s son is in full remission and doing great at college. Russell offers this as an example of the simple and profound ways that wires, software and computers (health IT) can be the difference between life and death.
  • Udayan Mandavia, the CEO at iPatientCare, submitted the post " Value of Healthcare IT from my perspective " which highlights how health IT helps patients and physicians remain engaged and proactive in their health. He also points to how health IT bridges gaps in care caused by socioeconomic disparities, leveling the playing field for communities across the country (and the world). Udayan concludes with this point: healthcare IT leads to “better outcomes, lower costs, meaningfully.” 
  • Nick Giannas, Senior Associate at Witt/Kieffer, writes " What’s the Value of Health IT? The CIO Has the Answer ." Nick asserts that health IT is actually invaluable as it enables what we understand as the continuum of healthcare. He instead asks why everyone in healthcare doesn’t share this same viewpoint, asserting that guidance and leadership on the value of health IT must come from the C-suite, thus the CIO is extremely valuable. As an executive recruiter, Nick offers several defining characteristics that every new CIO should have. 
  • Cortney Nicolato, Vice President at Get Real Health, has written " Get Real Health is Participating in National Health IT Week ." Cortney states that health IT brings effective, evidence-based healthcare to patients that enables improved, scalable patient-provider collaboration that transcends geographic boundaries.
  • Charles Christian, the VP/CIO, St. Francis Hospital, has written " Using Health IT to Resolve the Unknown ." In this post Charles offers an example of the value of health IT through a story of how the Indiana Health Information Exchange (IHIE) helped patients in the aftermath of the August 2011 Indiana State Fairgrounds event when a temporary roof structure collapsed, killing seven and injuring 58. All of the surrounding medical facilities were connected to the IHIE, providing a centralized method of knowing where patients have been transported so that families and loved ones could track down any injured patient accordingly.
  • Geeta Nayyar, M.D. the CMIO at PatientPoint added the post " National Health IT Week Provides a Glimpse of the Future ." Dr. Nayyar offers her perspective on health IT’s role in improving the quality of healthcare delivery as a practicing physician. Throughout the week, she’ll be offering a series of blog posts that will touch on specific topics ranging from new patient engagement strategies for physicians to the value of predictive analytics. To close out her opening post, Dr. Nayyar insists that health IT will only see its full potential when it becomes completely integrated into the daily lives of patients and families.
  • Brett Davis, a Principal at Deloitte Consulting, wrote " Leveraging 'real world evidence' to answer the hard questions in health care ." Brett feels that we are in a place where today’s healthcare environment can be captured in this quote: “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” Modern day medicine coupled enables advancements like “personalized medicine” but the unsustainable cost structure of the system threatens future innovation. Brett indicates that many characterize the value vs. volume reimbursement model as one that stifles innovation and offers an alternative: a data driven, value-based, personalized healthcare system.
  • Scott Mace the Editor at HealthLeaders Magazine wrote a great article entitled " Patients Define Evolving Expectations for HIT " whereby through a series of interviews with key stakeholders across the healthcare spectrum, he finds the true value of health IT lies in the happy-medium space where patients are empowered by their providers to be engaged and proactive in their own care and encouraged to view physicians as the “curator, guide, Sherpa, coach and counselor.
I'll have another update later today and recap the events of the day as NHIT Week rolls along. I continue to look forward to the new posts throughout this week as we begin to celebrate National Health IT Week. Stay tuned for future updates...
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