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Security and value-based care hot topics at HIT Summit

The first day of the two-day Health IT Summit in Boston was filled with speakers and panels addressing value-based care and cybersecurity. Most of the audience at the summit, about half, were health IT professionals and administrators while the rest consisted of security and privacy professionals, and clinicians and providers, according to an informal poll done during a session at the summit.

Value-based care

Richard Royer, CEO of Primaris, a Missouri-based consulting firm, outlined three actions that need to be executed in order to achieve value-based care:

  • Know how to optimize your EHR and the data. Technology plays an important role not only in meaningful use but also in value-based care. Adoption of EHRs has tripled in the last seven years, according to Sylvia Burwell, secretary of the Department Health and Human Services, who spoke about the issue at the Health Datapalooza conference in Washington, D.C. in May. However, Royer asserted that “simply having an EHR is not enough” when it comes to achieving value-based care.
  • Know your patients. Focus on population health and care coordination. This means linking systems electronically and bringing all the players into a coordinated system. Providers have to start thinking of managing a population of patients, because that’s where the value-based reimbursement system is headed.
  • Know your practice. And know how to deliver care, Royer said. In this case, providers should be making sure they are focusing on the right strategies and technologies to improve the delivery of care. If they are concentrated on the right things, he added, then the emphasis should be on “doing things right.”

Cybersecurity

Another poll taken at the summit showed that attendees were about equally divided when it comes to whether external hackers or inside threats are the greatest security risk in the near and long term.

Robert Lord, co-founder and CEO of Protenus Inc., in Baltimore, said on a security panel that the line separating external hackers and inside threats is getting fuzzier.

“I don’t think there’s a difference anymore,” Julie Berry, CIO at Steward Health Care System in Boston, said on the same panel. “You can’t lock people out anymore. You have to live like they’re there already.”

The key is to figure out who has access to what data and what part of the medical record that person is touching, Erika Barber, privacy and security manager at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, said.

One hospital is using an application that manages patient privacy and automatically detects breaches to help them monitor who has access to what within its healthcare organization.

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