HIMSS Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action

By Brian Ahier
03:35 PM
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Last year HIMSS became a member of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) and committed to develop and implement the Healthcare Transformation Project (HTP). By fostering partnerships, providing strategic advice, and driving resources toward the adoption of the best uses of IT for health and healthcare, the HTP will address significant challenges in American healthcare. Through this project, HIMSS will harness the experiences and energy of early IT adopters to help recruit, activate, and convene a community of senior executive healthcare leaders who are well-positioned to develop and execute initiatives that realize the potential of IT to improve the way in which healthcare is delivered in the United States. Inspired by CGI, HIMSS will encourage participants to make commitments to their action plans. "Through the Healthcare Transformation Project, HIMSS has established its Commitment to Action as part of CGI. We know improving healthcare with the best use of IT takes a collaborative effort, one that senior executives can be part of through this HIMSS community," said H. Stephen Lieber, CAE, HIMSS President and CEO.

In getting ready for the HIMSS 2013 conference I said that one of the most exciting things for me this year is HTP. HTP The is an invitation only initiative created exclusively for senior healthcare provider executives. This is an initiative intended to promote thought leadership and provide opportunities for an open exchange of ideas and networking for the entire leadership team, not just IT executives. As you can see from the agenda, the first day was pretty exciting.

Unfortunately, Patrick Buchanan was not able to make it to HIMSS due to some surgery, but he was more than adequately replaced in the opening keynote by Mary Matalin in a very interesting and friendly joust with Donna Brazile. They discussed the current, and often dysfunctional, political environment and how this impacts the healthcare environment. Mary, is a conservative who served Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush made some excellent points about free market reforms that could be undertaken. Donna, who is liberal, and a Democratic political strategist, an adjunct professor, author, syndicated columnist, television political commentator gave a very down to earth and hilarious . This was a perfect start to the day as we wrestled with how we can best use technology to transform our healthcare system in this politically charged environment.

Next we had an excellent presentation from Robert Tagalicod, the Director of the Office of E-Health Standards and Services at CMS, which among other things enforces the Transactions and Code Sets and National Identifiers (Employer and Provider identifiers) regulations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Most of the time I hear his testimony to the HIT Policy Committee on the EHR Incentive Program. At HTP he gave our community some insights into some organization structures within CMS and the kind of strategic thinking that is going on at CMS. He described how they are designing an architecture so that providers and other stakeholders have a single source of information on coordinating efforts toward implementing ICD-10, EHRs and meaningful use, operating standards, electronic quality measurement, and payment models. The Office of Enterprise Management serves as CMS' primary resource for expertise on project management and integration and oversees the Office of Information Products and Data Analytics, the Office of Enterprise Business, Office of Enterprise Performance, as well as the Office of E-Health Standards and Services. The hope is that the adoption of ICD-10, operating rules, and clinical standards will facilitate electronic data exchange and put information in the hands of patients and their caregivers in a way that has never been seen before. His presentation was thoughtful and engaging and led into some great discussion around the tables.

We then moved into the workshop phase of the day which was facilitated by Kenneth R. Jennings, PhD the Managing Partner at Third River Partners and author whose most recent book is 10,000 Horses: How Leaders Harness Raw Potential for Extraordinary Results. My hope is that with the incredible thought leadership around the room, we can move into some action leadership as the initiative moves forward. There was a great sense of shared purpose in the room and it will be very exciting to see the commitments to action that are undertaken.

Then in the evening we relaxed at a wonderful cocktail reception and had a fabulous dinner with a keynote presentation from Jeb Bush, former Governor of the State of Florida and the brother of President George W. Bush. There has been a lot of speculation that he may be a candidate for President in 2016, and he just that day had come out with a new book Immigration Wars. He was very gracious, and allowed me to interview him, and then hung out with everyone for an hour before dinner. In his keynote he discussed economic policy, energy policy, touched on education and then dove into healthcare.

He made some strong points that it would be good to give greater flexibility to the states on implementation of the Affordable Care Act. He did say that this is now the law of the land so we need to find solutions that fit within the framework of health reform. One area where he thought flexibility would help is the idea of having Mediciad and SCHIP plans offered on the health insurance exchanges. He reasoned that this would provide a broad base for a pool of healthy people to support the exchanges.

He also said, "I am depending on health IT to help save the American healthcare system. It is only by using technology to create a platform for innovation that many of these difficult problems can be solved." He then went on to say that open source software should be part of the solution. I seemed to be the only one who cheered this prospect but I was very happy that he saw the value. It was pretty incredible he was able to show such depth of insight and understanding of healthcare and information technology. I was very happy to finish the day as it began - with strong consensus that health It is an issue with bipartisan support.