Posts Tagged Health Information Technology

Health Information Technology (HIT) – Hype or Promise of a Better Healthcare System?


Salim Kizaraly, Founder & SVP of Business Development at Stella Technology, a healthcare information technology start-up, talked about the promise of  Health Information Technology in solving care coordination, physician collaboration, and system integration challenges to improve healthcare, at a recent http://www.bio2devicegroup.org event.

Kizaraly began by sharing the known fact that the mounting and huge healthcare costs in the US, that do not result in significant improvement in health, are not sustainable.  According to some estimates, almost 18.3% of GDP in the US, goes towards healthcare expenditure.  If the cost of healthcare continues to rise at historical rates, the share of GDP going towards healthcare in the US, is projected to reach 34%, by 2040.  While the costs continue to rise, gains on health improvement do not keep pace.  For instance, life expectancy in the US is only 78.4 years and US ranks 27th out of 34 industrialized nations.  In this study of industrialized nations, US had highest to near highest infant mortality rates.

Kizaraly discussed the three defining historical events that got the ball rolling on healthcare transformation.  In 2004, President Bush announced that in the next 10 years, by 2014, every American would have an access to electronic health records. We have a long way to go, but certainly we are moving in that direction.  In 2009, HITECH (Health Information Technology for Economic & Clinical Health) Act, enacted as part of the ARRA (American Recovery & Reinvestment) Act, was signed into law, to promote the adoption and meaningful use of HIT and included incentives for faster adoption of EMR (Electronic Medical Records).  In 2010, the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, with its mandate to expand coverage, cemented the case regarding the need towards transformation.

Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection an...

Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act at the White House (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Affordable Care Act’s most significant contribution is to creating ACOs or Accountable Care Organizations.  An ACO can be defined “as a set of health care providers, including primary care physicians, specialists, and hospitals that work together collaboratively and accept collective accountability for the cost and quality of care delivered to a population of patients”. There are incentives to keep patients out of the extreme settings of care, including hospitals and nursing homes.  Different models are emerging of how these organizations put this into practice.  Underlying issue is that hospitals have to get better at treating patients.  Hospitals are bracing for lower revenues as they get better at keeping patients out of hospitals.  Different models of care are emerging.  Technology will be a big enabler to change workflow, rethink care, as homes emerge as places of care.  Here is link to my article on Keynote by Dr. Toby Cosgrove, CEO of Cleveland Clinic, at 2014 J P Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco –http://bit.ly/1c3EyBB .  Cosgrove also said, that hospitals will not longer be epicenters of care, and while a few hospitals (e.g Cleveland Clinic) will be super high tech, they will partner and share resources with other care providers, to offset costs.  The disruptions will eventually enable us to “build a healthcare system that is humane, high quality, and sustainable”, said Cosgrove.

Kizraly discussed several national initiatives that are implemented or partially implemented to enhance collaboration among care providers and integration of information.  For instance, if a person experiences an emergency visiting New York, then eHealth Exchange will make it easy to get their health records from the state of their residence. Similarly, Blue Button makes it easy for Americans to get easy, secure, online access to their health records, with a single click.

Stella Technology is a self-funded health information technology services and product development company that focuses on care coordination, patient access, and information exchange projects.  Kizraly shared use cases and information on how Stella is helping providers, with great success, in integrating care.  Through aggregating data from a variety of sources, through identifying gaps in care, and with real-time, proactive analytics, Stella’s technology identifies care opportunities that can be improved and accordingly targets interventions.  In the long term these kinds of strategic technological interventions will enable care providers to curtail expenditure, while improving care. In the interim, we still have a long way to go and there are many opportunities for entrepreneurs to use technological advancements in big data, cloud, machine learning, (IOT) internet of things, and enable US healthcare system to become more efficient, with lower costs and improved outcomes.  Kizraly’s talk was followed by Q&A.

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John Mattison, CMO, Kaiser Permanente, will speak at #TiEcon and at #HealthTechForum  


While he has pursued a wide range of activities in health and wellness, Dr. John Mattison, Chief Medical Officer at Kaiser Permanente, in his own words, is an “accidental informatist”.  Very early in his own practice and prior to joining Kaiser Permanente, Mattison implemented electronic record system at his family practice, in 1984.  Soon thereafter, he was drafted with a mandate to advance Health Information Technology, at Kaiser, and to advance health policy at both state and federal levels.

Mattison firmly believes that integrated care is extremely important, though he concedes that achieving it is not simple.  However, if you are a member of Kaiser then this oft-quoted example may not appear farfetched, where an optometrist was able to make a life saving intervention.  Apparently a woman went to an optometrist and optometrist noticed that she was due for her mammogram and helped schedule it for the same day, and her abnormality was caught in time.  Time and again I have had similar experiences (though not as dramatic), at Kaiser, where I would go in for a physical and they notice that I am due for a mamo or pap and seamlessly it is scheduled and completed, in one visit.

Mattison believes that available technology can enable health providers to make seamless, integrated care possible, whether it is through Electronic Medical Records, Big Data Analytics, Cloud Computing, Mobile Health Apps, or social gaming.  Mattison also firmly believes that patient engagement is the key to superior health outcomes.  (As a health services consumer, I would say that it is so much easier to be an empowered and engaged patient, when care is integrated and seamless).  Mattison’s objective is to harvest the exponential growth of knowledge about health and use it to help individuals become more engaged in their own health, and then to go a step further and engage communities in promoting health outcomes.

CrossCity Connect, Clinical Commissioning Grou...

CrossCity Connect, Clinical Commissioning Group Patient Engagement Event (Photo credit: podnosh)

Mattison is leading many innovative and exciting projects at Kaiser Permanente, with a potential to change the dialog on health.  He is also currently launching a project to transform how complex data sets including genomic, microbiomics, exposomics, socialomics, and phenomics can be transformed through visualization, into intuitive representations, that support shared decision making and enhanced patient engagement.  If any of this seems like a mouthful or too far-fetched then see below two great opportunities to hear him speak in May, 2014 at #TiEcon and at #HealthTechForum conference.

www.tiecon.org – If you are a professional  in #healthIT, #digital health,  #internetofthings, #cloud, #bigdata or related, I would say this is the conference, you don’t want to miss – It offers a fabulous opportunity to network with 3000+ professionals and listen to top notch speakers and panelists.  You can register for #TiEcon (May 16 & 17 at Santa ClaraConvention Center) at link http://tinyurl.com/kr2hkcw  as my guest & enter promo code tievalue to get $100 discount.

Healthtechnology Forum conference http://www.healthtechnologyforum.com, focused on exploring pathways to sustainable health, is on May 20 in SF. Please register for the conference as my friend, with the discount code “HTF14-FriendOfOrganizer” and send me your first & last name at wd_darshana at hotmail dot com, to get $150 off the price of the ticket.  Also check out & participate in code-a-thon on patient engagement, for May 8.  Over 20K+ in prizes.

JOBS: are posted at the link http://bit.ly/1o85CTM

 

 

 

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