Healthcare policy 'a mess,' so IT execs need to stay prepared

Focus on analytics, data and maintaining patient access, speakers at the Pop Health Forum in Boston say.
By Tom Sullivan
11:48 AM
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Pop Health Forum in Boston 2017

BOSTON -- Despite the efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act stalling in the House of Representatives, experts agree that executives still need to prepare for a new healthcare landscape.

“What’s next? Nobody knows,” said Tripp Jennings, MD, chief value and informatics officer at Palmetto Health, at the Pop Health Forum in Boston Monday. “But it’s going to be a mess.”

Jennings and Palmetto are preparing by educating executives and communicating the fact that changes are coming. From there, they are working to get all of their data cleaned up, improving analytics and focusing on the digital margins.


  Read more of our event coverage.


“We have to get our board and medical staff prepared to ensure people have access so we don’t have greater casualties in the future,” said Richard Boehler, CEO of St. Joseph Hospital, which is part of Covenant Health. 

ReportingMD CEO Michael Deyett said that it’s critical to pick a starting point, including a variety of data sources, and to be able to house that data and manage it within set metrics. Then you can add in new types of data, such as population health or lab data.

“We’re managing different data sources, such as the EHR, to track information and look for trends, adding surveillance into our patient registry,” said Jodi Frei, manager of organizations informatics at Northwestern Medical Center.

Northwestern is also tapping into the Vermont state health information exchange’s ACO data repository with an eye on making sure as many patients as possible have access, regardless of what changes come out of Washington, to avoid the downstream inflated health problems and associated costs.

“We’re actively engaged in programs that meet patients where they live, play, learn and work,” Frei added. “Changes are constant, we have to adapt to whatever comes about – think about incentives for patients to seek out preventative care.”


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