Top 5 videos from HIMSS17
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Top 5 videos from HIMSS17

HIMSS: Health IT to continue playing significant role in reforming U.S. healthcare system

HIMSS Senior director of federal and state affairs Jeff Coughlin outlines the four areas where the value of health IT can be clearly articulated. 
By Jeffrey Coughlin
06:53 AM
HISS health IT reform

Given the attention that “repeal and replace” of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) received in the 2016 campaign, it is no surprise that President Donald J. Trump’s administration and Republican leaders are focusing their early healthcare agenda on this issue. HIMSS anticipates that the debate around the repeal and replace process as well as the specifics particular to implementing any new law will consume a significant amount of time in 2017.

In terms of HIMSS public policy in 2017, we intend to leverage a strategic framework that focuses on four foundational areas where the value of health IT can be demonstrated, including: supporting healthcare transformation; expanding access to high quality care; increasing economic opportunity; and, making communities healthier.   

We are emphasizing to the new Administration and Congress that health IT is a core foundational piece in reforming our healthcare system and that health IT tools are critical for improving patient safety and outcomes, increasing access and greater success in value-based care delivery, quality reporting initiatives, as well as in opportunities to test innovative care models.

As work continues to reform our healthcare system and provide broad coverage and access to care, we are prioritizing several issues with the new Administration including:

Ensuring a robust Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT

We want to ensure that ONC is able to continue to lead and coordinate efforts at the federal and state levels and that the agency has a strong leader who has health IT experience as well as a dynamism that can propel as well as compel our community forward.

Continue accelerating the shift to value-based care

As such efforts continue, we want to ensure that the push for value-based care recognizes that technology and evidence-based care are key to helping our nation to transition from a fee-for-service system to a value-based care system.

Expanding economic opportunities and job creation from Health IT

Health IT drives economic growth and creates jobs.  As such, we want to work to create educational and economic opportunities to expand our robust workforce by prioritizing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) initiatives that provide links to health-related programs. In addition, we want to maximize opportunities to support US companies and health systems interested in exporting their advanced health IT solutions, products, and processes. 

Spurring further Progress on interoperability and exchanging health information

HIMSS is urging the Trump Administration to support widespread adoption and implementation of standards-based interoperable health IT systems as a key tool in achieving seamless, effective and secure health information exchange practices across the United States.

We are also advocating on several other fronts, such as on precision medicine, cybersecurity, telehealth, and patient data matching. We want to continue to foster a culture where health IT is optimally harnessed to transform health and healthcare by improving quality of care, enhancing the patient experience, containing cost, improving access to care, and optimizing the effectiveness of public payment.

2017 is going to be a very active advocacy year and we need the help of our entire community to ensure health IT remains a core foundational piece in reforming our healthcare system. 

Please feel free to reach out to me at jcoughlin@himss.org if you would like to get involved. 

Jeffrey Coughlin is Senior Director of Federal and State Affairs at HIMSS. 

HIMSS17 runs from Feb. 19-23, 2017 at the Orange County Convention Center.


This article is part of our ongoing coverage of HIMSS17. Visit Destination HIMSS17 for previews, reporting live from the show floor and after the conference.


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