Medicaid Enterprise Systems Conference Tracks Enterprise Health IT Progress and Goals

Adnan Ahmed
Adnan Ahmed

Guest post by Adnan Ahmed, president of the health IT solutions provider CNSI.

Each year, health IT experts and state health officials from across the country convene at the Medicaid Enterprise Systems Conference (MESC) to discuss the latest technology solutions for serving a diverse and growing Medicaid population.

This year’s event was held the week of August 18 in Denver, CO, bringing together state, federal and private sector individuals who provided the latest insights for the exchange of ideas related to Medicaid systems technology.

With seven million new Medicaid recipients this past year alone, state Medicaid systems face the challenge of onboarding a high volume of newly enrolled recipients, but also benefit from the opportunity to collect a wealth of data that IT systems can utilize to help government health and human services departments optimize managed health care and patient service.

While Medicaid has long been known simply as a system of payments, IT solutions increasingly present the transformative ability to develop and experiment with new value add-ons that will introduce cost-cutting efficiencies while also improving patient care.

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Perspective About Meaningful Use Stage 2 and Stage 3 from Dr. Robert Hitchcock, CMIO of T-System

Dr. Robert Hitchcock
Dr. Robert Hitchcock

Robert Hitchcock, M.D., FACEP, is T-System’s vice president and CMIO, leading the company efforts for solving regulatory issues and identifying trends. He is a nationally recognized meaningful use expert and active member of the HIMSS Physician Committee and other HIMSS subcommittees advocating usability and responding to regulatory issues.

Dr. Hitchcock also is a practicing ED physician and an Emergency Department Practice Management Association (EDPMA) board member. In 2001, he earned recognition for excellence in teaching from internal medicine residents, and in the early 2000s, he trained basic and advanced life-support EMS providers. His goal is to advance system adoption and usability to improve the quality and efficiency of ED delivery.

Here, he provides perspective about developments of meaningful use Stage 2 and Stage, how meaningful use is impacting vendors and practices, how they feel — or should feel — about it, and what Stage 3 means for everyone in the industry.

How do you see the market responding to meaningful use? How are physicians moving forward, or beyond, it?

The market’s overall response to meaningful use is generally clear: they’re pushing back, particularly on Stage 2. Vendors aren’t ready, so there are not as many certified products out there. Physicians and hospitals are both calling for delays. By some estimates, as many as 50 to 70 percent of physicians who were successful in Stage 1 will not be successful in Stage 2.

To give some perspective, the Eisenhower interstate system was authorized and construction began in 1956. Phase 1 was completed in 1992. It took 35 years to build roads in this country, a decidedly low-tech undertaking. With meaningful use, we’re attempting to take a relatively un-automated industry and automate it beyond what was ever considered possible in six years. Everyone is pushing back because it’s simply too much, too fast.

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Taming the Wild West of Healthcare Connectivity

Guest post by Bob Janacek, CTO and co-founder of DataMotion.

Duplicate tests and sky high costs. Healthcare records stored in filing cabinets and warehouses. Millions of documents lost in floods and fires. For the past few decades, these woeful stories have been typical of healthcare. Ask a seasoned administrator about those times and you’ll likely hear stories of heroic hospital staff wading waist deep in a flooded archive basement salvaging whatever floated by.

Fortunately, there’s been a significant push toward the use of electronic health records (EHR) and the days of managing tons of physical documents are gradually becoming a distant memory. Every new innovation, however, brings new challenges. This is especially true when it comes to recent federal mandates requiring the electronic exchange of healthcare records among providers and clinical systems.

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Though Much of the 2013 Transformation is Fueled by Government Initiatives, Healthcare is at a Tipping Point

Fifield

Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT

Guest post by: Lauren Fifield, senior health policy advisor, Practice Fusion

Many HIT vendors will be largely focused on major development efforts to meet 2014 edition certification requirements for meaningful use.  However, as Stage 2 measures aim at improving patient engagement, quality and interoperability, we may be surprised by the new technologies that existing and new companies develop to meet the requirements:

We’ll also see new industry movement toward improved patient safety through provider training, reporting and other efforts.  Thanks to the successful collaboration between vendors and the agencies that help providers achieve meaningful use, we expect the Food and Drug Administration to work with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to engage key stakeholders by addressing the 18-month study mandated in the FDA Safety and Innovation Act of June 2012.

Given the continued and ever-growing provider outcry to address the broken payment system, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) may finally develop plans to move to a reimbursement system that relies on quality and outcomes.  With the recent announcement of more than 106 new ACO contracts, growing provider participation in new payment models, and the new possibilities opened up by technology vendors, it may at last be time to put this broken system behind us.

Though much of the 2013 transformation is fueled by government initiatives, the healthcare industry is at a tipping point regardless of any push on Uncle Sam’s part. Patients will soon be expected to pay for more of their care, making consumer health tools, telehealth and personalized medicine more appealing and important. Providers tired of the payment system will partner with technologists and private payers to try alternative models and cash-based business.  And big data might just find a home amid all these new patient, provider and health system innovations.