IT to be at center of AHIP show

By Mike Miliard
09:30 AM

"Investing in heath information technology is a top priority for health plans," says Robert Zirkelbach, press secretary of America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) whose Institute 2010 conference takes place Wednesday, June 9 to Friday, June 11 in Las Vegas.

"You've seen a great deal of innovation in this area over the last several years," he adds, "particularly with personal health records, e-visits, and other types of electronic communications that health plans have pioneered."
Indeed, IT is going to be a central component of this year's conference, with a host of tech firms exhibiting their cost-saving solutions and with attendees afforded the opportunity to take part in myriad informational sessions.

Some sponsored sessions that might be of interest to Healthcare IT News readers include "From Data to Knowledge: Leveraging Business and IT Partnership," presented by SAS; "Meeting Today’s Medicare Challenges with Tomorrow’s Technology," presented by ikaSystems; and "Next Generation Health Coaching – How Technology Enables Personal Health Support," presented by Health Dialog. (See www.ahip.org/links/institute2010/ for a full list of events and exhibitors.)

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Zirkelbach highlighted "the great lineup of speakers. We're bringing together some of the brightest minds in healthcare, from across the political and policy spectrum, to discuss all the key issues in healthcare." Among them:

  • President Bill Clinton, 42nd President of the United States and founder of the William J. Clinton Foundation
  • William H. Frist, MD, U.S. senator from Tennessee (1995-2007), and a heart-lung transplant surgeon
  • Robert B. Reich, professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley; former U.S. secretary of labor; and author of “Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future” (September 2010)
  • Alice M. Rivlin, senior fellow and director at the Brookings Institution, and author of “Restoring Fiscal Sanity: The Health Spending Challenge” (2007)
  • Donna Shalala, president of the University of Miami and former secretary of health and human services.

The aim, as always, of all these keynotes, exhibits, information sessions, workshops and networking breakfasts is to bring about the tricky balance of improving healthcare while increasing access and lowering costs.

That mission has special salience this year, in light of the recent passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). And clearly, more widespread adoption and implementation of information technology plays a central role in achieving that goal.

"As part of the healthcare reform debate, our industry has proposed massive administrative simplification reforms to standardize how information is exchanged between health plans and providers to make the healthcare system more efficient, reduce medical errors, and ultimately bring down healthcare costs," says Zirkelbach.

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