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A Physician's Perspective: Meaningful Use of Health Technology

Mar 11 2013   8:04PM GMT

Global health, HIE, and interoperability at #HIMSS13

Posted by: DrJosephKim
clinton, EHR, global, hie, Interoperability, Interoperability and health information exchange, Meaningful use

#HIMSS13 was quite an event this year! On Wednesday, March 6, President Clinton spoke about the need to use health IT effectively to improve population health management. More aging patients are entering the health system every day and physicians and hospitals need to expand their capacity to manage all these patients who often have multiple chronic conditions. He also spoke about how health IT will allow clinicians to effective treat the growing population of baby boomers. HIMSS also announced the New Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action – an extension of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) that HIMSS joined in September 2012 to advance its work on its Healthcare Transformation Project. The Healthcare Transformation brings senior healthcare provider leaders together, with year-round events, research and networking, as they decide and act upon their own commitments to action. Established in 2005 by former President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.

We know that clinical decision support (CDS) and the use of collaborative workflows can help members of the care team manage their patients more effectively. This year at HIMSS, we heard how some hospitals and health systems are integrating some of these health IT resources to improve patient outcomes. These things will become more important as physicians and hospitals pursue Meaningful Use Stage 2. One of the major components of Stage 2 is the collection of data on clinical quality measures (CQMs). Physicians and hospitals are identifying ways to use health IT to improve patient safety, reduce medical errors, improve care coordination, and engage the patient in their own health care. Stage 2 MU also outlines the goals around the use of health information exchanges (HIEs). While there are several states that have successfully launched and sustained HIEs, others are struggling to identify a business model that will allow an HIE to be sustainable.

Interoperability has always been a major buzzword at HIMSS. This year, a major announcement was the launch of the CommonWell Health Alliance , a collaborative effort pioneered by several electronic health record (EHR) companies including: Cerner, McKesson, RelayHealth, athenahealth, Allscripts and Greenway. The CommonWell Health Alliance is a not-for-profit organization that will support universal access to health data through seamless interoperability. They will promote and certify a national infrastructure with common standards and policies. Over the next several months, we may see other EHR companies joining the Alliance, so stay tuned for those updates.

Speaking of interoperability, another big challenge in health IT revolves around the security of patient information. Protecting patient health data is becoming more crucial as hospitals and health systems rely on IT resources to manage patient records. Information security continues to remain a high priority among the HIMSS community. Microsoft Office 365 is a major cloud business productivity solution that addresses the rigorous HIPAA regulations and offers a HIPAA Business Associate Agreement (BAA) to customers, allowing healthcare organizations to reap the benefits of the cloud without the security risk.

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