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At CIO Forum, execs look ahead to a patient-centered future for health IT

CHIME touts OpenNotes partnership, early success of National Patient ID Challenge; opening keynoter talks challenges and opportunities of patient-generated data.
By Mike Miliard
06:03 PM
2016 "is off to an amazing start," said CHIME Board Chair Marc Probst, chief information officer of Salt Lake City's Intermountain Healthcare, at the CIO Forum presented by CHIME and HIMSS on Monday.

LAS VEGAS – If 2015 had its share of challenges for CIOs and their hospitals, 2016 "is off to an amazing start," said CHIME Board Chair Marc Probst, chief information officer of Salt Lake City's Intermountain Healthcare, at the CIO Forum presented by CHIME and HIMSS on Monday.

Specifically, he said he looked forward to moving beyond the "check-the-box" mentality that's been necessitated by meaningful use these past few years – and toward a near future where CIOs are able to take a "much more active and strategic role" in helping their organizations meet the Triple Aim.

[Also: Intermountain innovation chief says healthcare must have a ‘passion for people’]

Probst pointed to some new initiatives from CHIME that are already showing huge promise – notably, the $1 million National Patient ID Challenge it launched in January. Already, 171 innovators from around the world have formally signed on help solve the "vexing problem" of inaccurate patient matching.

"Done right, a national patient ID will save lives," he said. "This is a momentous occasion of CHIME."

Another new initiative is CHIME's partnership with OpenNotes – announced just this past week – to spur patient access and increase information sharing between physicians and those in their care. CHIME will help OpenNotes with its ambitious goal of expanding the program to 50 million patients in three years – opening a huge opportunity for people "to have much better clinical information" to help inform their care decisions, said Probst.

After all: The future of healthcare is personal.

That was the title of the CIO Forum's opening keynote address, delivered by Thomas Goetz, Iodine CEO and former executive editor of WIRED.

Goetz's talk offered an illuminating look at the challenges and opportunities posed to healthcare data – and the information technology needed to analyze and share it – as patients become more empowered.

Patients only interact directly with the healthcare system about 10 hours a year, he pointed out. But increasingly, providers are understanding that patients' experiences in the real world – the other 8,750 hours of the year – are critically important.

"We assume people are always acting as patients – behaving passively," said Goetz. "If medicine is based on the assumption that people are doing what they're told, everything works."

The reality is a bit more complicated than that, of course. Healthcare "is not a science; it's a process where there's a lot of human behavior, a lot of failure," he said.

"Medicine is a human experience and that matters," said Goetz. And it's the job of those who work with health information technology to "measure the mess" – calibrate it, help make sense of it and integrate it with existing IT systems.

The good news is that the dawn of patient-generated data holds huge promise for informing better decisions and "can be incredibly powerful for costs," he said. 

Yes, there are big challenges for integrating patient-reported measures – taking data from sensors and apps and working to validate, integrate and measure its benefits. But there has lately been a "profusion of tools and services" to help improve the technology infrastructure needed to do so, and CIOs hold the skills to optimizing them, he said.

If data scientists might be described as "janitors," cleaning up patient information so it can be put to use, "you guys are plumbers," said Goetz – laying out and connecting the tools to make that data work.

Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN


This story is part of our ongoing coverage of the HIMSS16 conference. Follow our live blog for real-time updates, and visit Destination HIMSS16 for a full rundown of our reporting from the show. For a selection of some of the best social media posts of the show, visit our Trending at #HIMSS16 hub.

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