Health IT is evolving quickly, are we ready to catch up?

Posted by:Whitridge
21 June 2016 0

I am aware that many of you have strong opinions about The Affordable Care Act, some are positive and some are negative, I believe one thing that is being missed as a benefit is the resulting activity from specific mandates of the act that are accelerating innovation in Health IT.

I recently attended the Massachusetts HIMMS Annual Spring Conference, the theme was innovation and the content did not disappoint. What I saw and felt in the room was a palpable enthusiasm for improving patient care, improved management of the cost of healthcare and an accountability being accepted by many to fulfill the goals of the Triple Aim.

Leading off with Dr. Joe Kvedar, a thought leader in Health IT, introducing his new book, “The Internet of Healthy Things,” in which he brings to light the future of virtual coaching, data streamed on wearables that aids in care management. The coach being a virtual voice on the phone reminding us of the things we do that aid in managing our conditions and the many things we do to negate positive outcomes. These technologies would also keep our selected relatives aware of the good and bad so they could both influence the person to do better or praise them when they are doing well.

There now exists the ability to aggregate data to indicate trends in personal metrics like diet, exercise, disease management to warn of possible risks. There are new sensors that can perform mobile EEG readings and from the result, calm stress. 
The attendees were introduced to the importance of adoption with these new innovations and the importance of “consumer centric design,” which is a must when attempting to get people with chronic disease to accept new tools for managing their conditions. These new devices must have an ability for personalization and fit into the daily life of the user.

One of the panels presented “The Power of Mobile,” a look at the innovations that are being utilized by BCBS, American Well, and others relating to virtual visits and the power that this has on the acquisition of real time information from a distant or home bound member. This is also a critical tool for treating disparate patients in areas of the country that do not have the quality or quantity of healthcare providers we have in the Boston area. This is a possible glimpse at the future of medicine if we can get the payment conundrum sorted out. There is a prediction that by 2020 20% of doctor visits will be virtual tele-visits, which will require that we get this challenge solved.

A most impressive presentation was one by Laura Adams from the Rhode Island Quality Institute, the state health information exchange that has gone far beyond our perception of an exchange. For example, their primary website Current Care is a self-proclaimed healthcare ecosystem with access for patients, providers. There is access to Physicians, Hospitals Insurers, Labs etc. and it is end-to-end interoperable with all the large EHRs such as Epic, Cerner, Athena and Next Gen. “Current Care For Me” provides a consumer facing tool to support real time care management dashboards, CurrentCare alerts if a test or trend indicates a problem with a member, along with centralized data collection tool which will become invaluable in developing fact based medical decisions that are not reliant on the ICD9 or ICD 10 code a doctor decides to attach to a treatment. This is available to physicians, researchers, universities etc. to use in multiple Health IT applications.

This is only a portion of the exciting ideas and products that were presented at the conference and the message to me and many others around me was innovation is alive and well in Health IT and we need to make sure we are fostering its growth and making sure the IT population that drives these innovations is large enough to take the concepts being presented and turn them into the applications and products that make us the leader in healthcare quality, delivery and reduced costs.

Thanks to HIMMS for a great program and the forum they provide for creative thinking.

This blog post was written by John C. Hennessy, Chief Operating Officer of Whitridge Associates 

Whitridge Associates provides expert talent to a diverse group of technology companies, financial services, defense contractors and healthcare providers throughout the country. With a history of 22 plus years of unparalleled service to both our clients and consultants, Whitridge is one of the most highly regarded staffing companies in New England. Whitridge was recently recognized as an Inavero’s Best of Staffing® Client and Talent Awards winner, one of the top 100 fastest growing staffing companies in the United States and was presented with The Excellence Award from TechServe Alliance the industry’s leading trade association.

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