All I Want for Christmas: Health IT Stocking Stuffers

As we head into Christmas, and 2015, millions of Americans have hopes for a bright holiday willed with hope, health and happiness. And while America’s consumer engine is in full force, presents are getting bought, wrapped and covered with ribbons and bows, it’s hard to image that there’s little that can’t be bought and given in the spirit of good cheer for the betterment of man and for the greater good. But, as in all areas of life there are a few things that won’t fit nicely in the stocking or under the tree.

If only everything we wanted and needed could be placed in our stocking to be unwrapped on Christmas morn, but there’s just too much on the list. The list would be long for those in healthcare – interoperability, improvement of policies, better communication with care providers, and even more, qualified employees to join healthcare-related ventures.

If only some of these Christmas wishes could be packaged and stuffed in the stocking. Here are a few ideas from several healthcare folks who wish they could make the world’s dreams come true.

Allen Kamrava, MD, MBA, attending staff, Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Department of Surgery, Division of Colorectal Surgery

Common language between all healthcare electronic health records (EHR) systems, such that they can communicate with each other and patient notes may be accessed between all providers. We have gone digital, but none of the systems communicate with one another. This does not make any sense. Patients should be able to elect to have their records “shared” between systems when they visit other physicians, and more so to have their accounts sync’d between systems so that all physicians are up to date with all tests, procedures and visits. For now, the only thing EMRs have provided for is more legible notes that are inundated with information required by national standards regulations. Healthcare is far beyond the rest of the IT world. Indeed, it functions in the pre-internet era – we have electronic systems, but they do not communicate in any meaningful way. Healthcare IT is still functioning as if we are in the 1990s.

Bill Marvin, president, chief executive officer and co-founder, InstaMed

Bill Marvin

Health IT Christmas wish: Interoperability. By integrating technology and processes across heterogeneous environments, providers automate administrative processes and simplify compliance requirements, resulting in lower operational costs.

Bill Fera, M.D., principal, EY Americas Health Care Advisory practice

I would love to see a fully functional telemedicine capability in every hospital and office across the country. What I mean by fully functional is that reimbursement hurdles have been cleared, apps are standard, we have a maturity and adoption model in place all so that patients are receiving the best care from the right clinician in the most optimal manner possible.

Charles Settles

Charles A. Settles, product analyst, TechnologyAdvice
There are a myriad of things I’d like to find in my figurative “stocking” come Christmas morning, but perhaps the one I’d like to see the most is more widespread patient, provider and payer use of health wearable devices or fitness trackers, i.e. Fitbit, FuelBand, Jawbone, etc. The spread of these devices is something we are keeping a close eye on here at TechnologyAdvice; we recently surveyed nearly 1,000 adults about their use of fitness trackers and uncovered several key insights. Perhaps the most actionable of those insights was that nearly 60 percent of adults would use a fitness tracking device if it would help reduce their monthly health insurance premiums. Of course, there are potential benefits to payers and providers as well — in the push to switch the healthcare reimbursements from a fee-for-service to a outcomes-based model, these devices could provide invaluable information to physicians that would aid in health maintenance, preventative care, and overall population health modeling. As these devices evolve and are able to track more and more biometrics, they could enable less expensive and higher quality telemedicine.

Mike Lanciloti, vice president of marketing and product management, Spectralink

Mike Lanciloti

This year, hospital IT departments are wishing for an alternative to BYOD. They need a way to bridge the preferences of staff and the needs of hospital. BYOD simply isn’t always the best solution. Personal devices usually are not protected by IT, so they present security risks. There’s also potential productivity issues in a hospital environment in which employees are unable to access the hospital’s secure network from their personal device. A mobile strategy with purpose-built mobile devices owned by the hospital helps ensure that the devices employees use to access personal patient information are restricted to secure networks to protect patient and corporate data, as well as comply with industry regulations.

Derek Schoonover, vice president of information technology, DaVita Kidney Care

What I wish for most is the opportunity to ask physicians what they want from a software solution, and how they’d like the EHR industry and governmental regulators (especially CMS) to endeavor to meet their needs. Two desires that we’ve heard loud and clear from our Physician EHR users are:

Regulatory program relief

o             Consider extra time to implement disruptive new initiatives such as ICD-10 and meaningful use Stage 3 to give the physicians more time to integrate and settle in with the existing initiatives, such as meaningful use Stage 2, PQRS and Electronic Controlled Substance Prescribing.

Vendor focus on physician workflow and EHR usability

o             Physicians want their EHR vendors to put their workflow needs and EHR usability first. They want their vendor to listen to their needs and watch them use the EHR. They want the vendor to understand where the system could better meet physician needs, speed up key doctor workflows, and provide necessary information to the end-user when and where it is needed.

John Olajide, founder and CEO, Axxess

Axxess would like to receive 40 bright, highly skilled software engineers in our Christmas stocking to add to our existing development team. For practical purposes, it will likely take us a few months to add this many to our development team. We are also recruiting for other areas of the business.

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