Health IT executives share holiday wish lists, hopes for 2013

C. Martin Harris, MD, CIO of Cleveland Clinic

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

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