Health IT executives share holiday wish lists, hopes for 2013
Thinking of gift ideas for that special health IT someone this holiday season? Want to explore the creative side of gift-giving and outdo last year's gift of that Epic EMR or enterprise-wide RTLS? Look no further.
Healthcare IT News asked several health IT executives for their wishes for this holiday season, if cost was of no concern. If you've been waiting for the opportunity to rid yourself of several million dollars, or you frequent with the crowd on Capitol Hill and you'd like to make some wishes come true, here are some suggestions.
C. Martin Harris, MD, chief information officer of the 1,239-bed Cleveland Clinic
For Harris, statewide health information exchange isn't enough. He'd like to see HIE on a national level. "For 2013, I would like to see the beginnings of an operational national health information exchange upon which we can begin to validate our ability to provide optimal care for a given patient independent of the business organization to which the provider or providers belong," said Harris.
If this simply proves too difficult for the gift-givers out there, he also mentions a second wish: to see an evidence-based set of value metrics, "outcomes divided by costs," that can be used for developing clinical care paths.
And simply because it makes sense to round out one's wishes at three, Harris also hopes to see a "standards-based, hand-held device that provides secure, user-friendly access to visualize complex sets of medical information."
Robin Stults, senior vice president of health information management at the 968-bed Parkland Hospital and Health System in Dallas
This holiday season, Stults would like to see a better electronic medical record platform. "I would wish for an EMR platform that integrates real-time artificial intelligence/natural language understanding in way that promotes the creation of information as a byproduct of using the system," she says. In her view, EMRs are incredibly "input intensive and cluttered with redundant and non-integrated data and output." Because of this, "meaningful benefit becomes lost in the myriad of ways to capture, store and translate data," says Stults. "Natural language understanding coupled with new innovative ways to enter patient data and compile it within the EMR would have a profound impact on the accuracy, granularity and usefulness of patient medical information in the future."
Scott MacLean, deputy CIO of six-hospital Partners HealthCare System in Boston
MacLean told Healthcare IT News Editor Bernie Monegain last month that he'd wish for consumer engagement with their health. For MacLean, incentives need to "align so patients/consumers care as much about our healthcare information as our money." He points to other economic sectors that have created innovation and convenience only when the public demands for services and accuracy. "A public that demands real-time, accurate personal health information would drive price and quality transparency, interoperability and customer service – and the information systems needed to support these functions in the healthcare sector," he adds.
Mary Anne Leach, vice president and CIO of the 318-bed Children's Hospital Colorado
Leach's wish this year centers around policy changes. She hopes "to make the 2006 Stark EHR 'safe harbors' permanent." That legislation, which is set to expire Dec. 31, 2013, allows hospitals and health systems to subsidize the implementation of EHRs for their independent, partnering, community practices without risk of violating the anti-kickback statute. "It won’t cost the federal or state governments anything," says Leach says, "And without extension, many physician practices will have to de-install their EHRs due to the cost of long-term maintenance, upgrades and support." At the Children's Hospital Colorado, the program is called PedsConnect, and Leach says, "It is an essential component to managing populations, fostering continuity of care, enabling care team communications, and ensuring quality of care for the children we collectively serve.”
Ralph Johnson, CIO of the 65-bed Franklin Community Health Network based in Farmington, Maine,
If costs were no concern, Johnson would wish for a universal patient medication list that was compatible with any EMR. "The medication list would need to be 'actionable', meaning that it could flow from any provider’s practice EMR, enter automatically into any hospital EMR and work with the formulary for Drug-Drug/Drug-Allergy and Drug-Food interactions," he said.