Here’s a worthy event I plan to attend, and cover, while at HIMSS next week. Verisk Health and volunteers will prepare 4,000 food packs for the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida at HIMSS. This program provides nutritious meals, with kid-friendly, shelf-stable items, to children who do not have access to school cafeterias during the weekend.
Verisk invites all HIMSS conference attendees to help with the packing. Complete details follow:
WHAT: To support the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, Verisk Health is hosting an event to prepare 4,000 food packs for the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida’s Hi-Five Kids Pack Program during the HIMSS Conference. This program provides nutritious meals, with kid-friendly, shelf-stable items, to children who do not have access to school cafeterias during the weekend. HIMSS attendees are invited to volunteer an hour of their time to help assemble the food packs
WHERE: Rosen Centre Hotel, a two-minute walk from the Orange County Convention Center, accessible via the sky bridge
WHEN: 6 p.m. on Tuesday, February 25, 2014
WHO: Verisk Health, a subsidiary of Verisk Analytics, provides data services, analytics, and advanced technologies for the healthcare industry. The company’s solutions help health plans, employers, providers, and other risk-bearing entities improve the quality of healthcare delivery, reduce costs, optimize risk-adjusted revenue, ensure payment accuracy, and support compliance.
Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida is a private, nonprofit organization that collects, stores and distributes donated food throughout Central Florida. They initiated the Hi-Five Kids Pack Program when educators came to the Food Bank looking for a solution to provide a weekend-supply of food to needy students who would arrive at school on Monday ill and unable to learn because they had not eaten since their school lunch the previous Friday. The program provides nutritious meals to children in-need who do not have access to school cafeterias during the weekend.
Results of the 2013 HIMSS Security Survey show that, despite progress toward hardened security and use of analytics, more work must be done to mitigate insider threat, such as the inappropriate access of data by employees. Although federal initiatives such as OCR audits, meaningful use and the HIPAA Omnibus Rule continue to encourage healthcare organizations to increase the budgets and resources dedicated to securing patient health data, in the previous 12 months, 19 percent of respondents reported a security breach and 12 percent of organizations have had at least one known case of medical identity theft reported by a patient.
The 2013 HIMSS Security Survey, supported by the Medical Group Management Association and underwritten by Experian Data Breach Resolution, profiles the data security experiences of 283 information technology (IT) and security professionals employed by U.S. hospitals and physician practices. The data from respondents suggests that the greatest perceived “threat motivator” is that of healthcare workers potentially snooping into the electronic health information of friends, neighbors, spouses or co-workers (i.e., inappropriate data access).
Recognizing inappropriate data access by insiders as an area for which organizations are at risk of a security breach, there has been increased use of several key technologies related to employee access to patient data, including user access control and audit logs of each access to patient health records. On a related note, although more than half of the survey’s respondents (51 percent) have increased their security budgets in the past year, 49 percent of these organizations are still spending 3 percent or less of their overall IT budget on security initiatives that will secure patient data. Continue Reading
Once again, HIMSS is asking for perspective about the value of Health IT. The organization asked members of the social media and blogging community to respond to this very question last year for its second year celebrating National Health IT Week. It’s doing so again in preparation of #HIMSS14.
As I pointed out last year, even though it seems like a simple question, there still don’t appear to be any simple answers. There remains different answers depending on who you ask. So, again, instead of offering my lone opinion, I’ve asked a variety of folks to respond to the question, “What is the value of health IT,” based on their insight and experience serving the space.
The value of health IT lies in its ability to address three of the major, although competing, forces of change in healthcare. The need to standardize care, personalize care, and reduce costs requires the synthesis of vast amounts of data as well as dramatic changes to workflow and process. I can conceive of no way to go about pursuing these changes without technology. The old adage “you cannot improve what you cannot measure” tells us that improving health care requires us to leverage our data, turning it into knowledge and to then build the new workflows that will change the way we deliver care.
Health IT is the means for providing the best possible data at the point of care. It addresses the who, what, when and where of a patient’s care, which helps healthcare providers enhance the patient experience and deliver high-quality of care to improve health and well-being, preserve privacy and ensure security. Health IT facilitates innovation and overcomes interoperability challenges that gives providers transparency for the patient pathway to improve quality of care and minimize clinical and financial costs by eliminating duplicate patient records, incomplete medical histories, incorrect medications, clinical errors, billing mistakes, and avoidable readmissions, as well as correcting the overuse, underuse, and misuse of beneficial care. Adopting health IT is the one strategy healthcare organizations can take to enter a golden age of patient care.
According to HIMSS, going beyond implementation of the electronic health record, healthcare providers increasingly look to innovation to reduce costs, improve patient care and increase patient safety. To learn more about how hospitals and health systems plan for, resource, and execute on their innovation agendas, HIMSS and AVIA launched the 2013 Healthcare Provider Innovation Survey. (Infographic below)
HIMSS and AVIA collaborated to produce the 2013 Healthcare Provider Innovation Survey, which was conducted by email from Aug. 20 to Sept. 30, 2013, with select U.S. hospitals, academic medical centers, children’s and ambulatory care centers to understand the current state of innovation within provider organizations. By analyzing the data collected from the 92 participants, HIMSS and AVIA determined the top barriers to innovation. The data is not necessarily meant to be representative of the market, but rather, facilitate dialogue about what the market is doing to determine the top barriers to innovation and other findings as reported in the results.
Eric Langshur, AVIA CEO, said: “The future of healthcare will be greatly influenced by providers’ ability to harness the latest technologies to positively impact their patients – and their bottom line.”
For its second year of celebrating National Health IT Week, HIMSS is asking a simple question: “What is the value of HIT?”
Seems like a simple question, but there don’t seem to be any simple answers. The fact is there seems to be a different answer depending on who you ask. So, instead of offering my lone — and probably less than expert – opinion I’ve asked a variety of folks who are probably better able to give more insightful and valuable opinions than mine.
Brian Wells, associate vice president of healthcare technology and academic computing, Penn Medicine – UPHS “The value of Health IT is centered on the liberation of information. The act of capturing health data in electronic form allows that data to be used for multiple purposes: patient care, quality improvement, cost optimization, research, education, etc. The value increases exponentially if the data is stored and shared using structural and semantic standards. This enables data from multiple sources to be aggregated while retaining its original meaning (value). The promise of personalized or precision medicine will only be realized if health IT is used to gather the rich phenotypes of all patients and link that to their genotypes.”
Mark Frisse, M.D., professor of biomedical Informatics, Vanderbilt University “Health IT enables patients and their clinicians to make more informed decisions by bringing to care settings a comprehensive view of the patient’s health status as well as evidence-based care guidelines to inform consensual decision-making. Health IT promises more efficient and effective care delivery, accurate reporting of care quality, and timely assessments of public health. Health IT can enforce patient privacy preferences and other policy requirements. Properly implemented within a system of care, these technologies enable better communication and may allow clinicians and patients to transform care in positive and sometimes dramatic ways.” Continue Reading
Despite the government doling out billions for the advancement of healthcare information technology (HIT) through the electronic health record (EHR) Medicare and Medicaid incentive programs, the shift toward adoption of EHR has not picked up as rapidly as expected.
A deeper study into the issue reveals that physicians and healthcare providers, who are normally at ease in incorporating cutting edge technology into their work, are facing a plethora of problems because of the government’s incentive programs. A hasty implementation of certified EHR, which were provided by hundreds of vendors, resulted in physicians buying tools that were not optimized to meet a individual user’s needs. As a result, instead of facilitating providers, these tools have had a negative impact on their workflows, decreasing efficiency.
According to the results of the 2nd Annual HIMSS Mobile Technology Survey, mobile technology is increasingly important to healthcare. Patients are obviously on board, but so are physicians and their employers.
Extensive adoption of almost every type of technology continues to take hold in the space, including smartphones, tablets, laptops and “movable workstations.”
An argument I remember hearing during my time in the vendor space is that if patients/consumers evolved into a mobile community, physicians would follow. Obviously, we’re seeing this prediction come true, but I can’t think of any reason why it wouldn’t be the case as it’s the type of technology that’s cheap, assessable, mobile and effective.
More so, according to the HIMSS study, “physicians are embracing new ways of collecting information and connecting with patients.” I do wonder, though, if physicians thought they’d be using their technology to connect with their patients as much as they have reported through the survey.
Surprisingly, (for me, at least) is the HIMSS reports that 93 percent of all physicians use mobile health technology in their day-to-day activities, and 80 percent use it to provide patient care.
A little less surprising is that nearly 25 percent have EHR systems that capture clinical information from mobile devices, and 36 percent allow patients to access information and health records using a mobile device.
The survey featured 180 individuals who “were directly responsible for some aspect of a healthcare organization’s mobile health policy shows that the number of mobile health programs in hospitals and individual practices increased.”
In my experience with this type of research, and as my former colleagues in research might point out, the sample size is statistically pretty small, though, and I’d like to see how the numbers would come out with an inflated sample size. I’d be surprised if 93 percent of physicians used so much mobile tech.
Finally, according to the survey, and I’m just reporting the facts here:
68 percent of participants reported that their organization already had a mobile technology plan in place
An additional 27 percent are currently developing theirs
Only 4 percent indicated that they had no plans to develop a mobile technology policy at the time.
Two thirds of participants report that they are in the process of developing a policy, expected to be completed in the next six months
25 percent anticipate completion of the policy within six months to a year
Two percent believe it will take more than two years to implement a program
When looking forward, it sometimes helps to look back; sometimes.
Though the past is not always an indicator of things to come, sometimes we’re able to find a little guidance in the hindsight.
Much is being written by folks like myself in response to HIMSS asking the question of where Health IT is going to be a year from now, on the anniversary of second annual National Health IT Week.
Unlike several of my counterparts — perhaps I’ll be considered less of a forward thinker because of it — but instead of fast forwarding one year, I’d like to go back one year to formulate a response.
In May 2011, I had the pleasure of helping draft a column for my then boss for Imaging Economics magazine. The piece, one of my favorites, seemed to strike a chord, even if just with my office colleagues.
Nevertheless, this piece essentially answers the very question asked by HIMSS, a year before the asking.
And so, as we wrote back then, I’ll begin here again, with an encore of the piece as a response.
“Here’s how I see it: Healthcare is a world of major transition. Like life, there is some unpredictability, and most likely, there always will be.”
We continue: “Yet, during this time – call it one of change, progress, upheaval — we must continue focusing on creating a more mobile and connected place in which physicians and their patients share tools. We need to encourage a greater, more vested conversation, where health information exchanges and practice and patient portals are used, secure messaging and 24-hour access to records and patient data for the patient and their physician.”
This observation, according to my best estimate, couldn’t be any timelier.
We continue again:
“I see a healthcare environment that mirrors the rest of the world. Where, as a patient, I can see my labs at 3 a.m., can query my doctor and request refills; if I’m up for it, pay bills anywhere there’s a connection. I see this as accepted and practiced, in the practice of medicine. Always. Any time. Now.”
Perhaps we’re there now; perhaps not. Regardless, we’re talking about it and, given another year, I might be able to more profoundly announce, “Always. Any time. Now!”
If I remember correctly, in helping write this next section I spoke for myself: “But, here’s what I know: Patients are demanding greater ownership of their care and records (I was). They (I) want the always, any time, now. I also know that physicians – along with constant pressure of requirements and reform – need solutions they can trust; technology tools that are intuitive that help them provide the highest quality of care, all while meeting their patients’ needs.”
It seems nothing has changed in more than a year. I suspect little will change in another. Reform continues as we move past Stage 1 and into Stage 2, which are more rigorous than their predecessors. It will consume hours of healthcare professionals’ time. They will toil and try, and try and toil.
Despite the continuing and conflicting headlines, patients do want to get more involved in their care, but they need a reason to buy in; and physicians need tools that are going to improve their lives. They need more efficiency, more powerful and intuitive solutions. They need to start responding to survey that asks “What is the best system to use?” rather than “What is the least complex system to try to operate?”
Let me jump ahead now. “Physicians realize their sway within the healthcare market, both as practitioners and consumers, and they realize – like their patients — how technological connections enhance their experiences in other areas of their lives (read: paying bills online, online banking, booking appointments with the DMV through a website, purchasing movie tickets through a phone, etc.). This understanding of using technology as a tool is helping them improve and streamline their practices and, ultimately (for the better), engage their patients in care. “
Finally, here we get to the heart of the matter: “Technology by itself won’t improve patient care. Physicians know this – we all know this – and physicians play the key role in providing higher quality of patient care, but using technology as a tool to improve care improves outcomes, according to the physicians and patients I speak with. And, to me, that means improved outcomes equates to improved quality of care.”
“So, it makes sense that the practice of medicine is changing with technology, which calls for an adjustment of its perceptions in the space.”
And, to the tune of Paul Harvey, here’s the rest of the story:
“Because, as more attention flows into the market – with reform and regulation – it’s time to decide where the future of healthcare is going to be. Connection and interoperable features that drive ownership of patient care may be rooted in the patient-centered medical home and accountable-care organizations, but for that, more needs to be done. We have to be able to share data – again, that’s where connectivity comes in — and we’ll have to be able to move records quickly and efficiently, all while trying to remove the shackles from providers attempting to do what they sought the schooling and expertise for: To practice medicine.”
“All of this begins with the electronic record – other tools are essential, too, including patient portals; physician referring portals with the ability for images and notes to be accessed from anywhere there’s a connection; labs; refills and appointments through one interface, a seamless integration between practitioner and patient – is where I think we need to be, so we can move forward with the rest of the marketplace (meaning: banks, media and communication segments). With the value perceived in being able to share and communicate endlessly and with ease socially, we have to reach these heights in the practice of medicine.”
“Technology helps make lives better. Though, as noted above, technology doesn’t make doctors (or people of all kinds, for that matter) better, it just makes it easier for them to do their jobs (and live their lives). It won’t happen overnight, but I can see even better healthcare attained.”
And so, the encore performance may actually be a sign of things to come.