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By Dr. Satyendra Kaith, Adjunct Faculty
Schools of Business and IT, April 2014
Health care reform in the United States continues to evolve, and health care transformation promises to be an ongoing exercise for the industry as it transitions from pay-for-volume to pay-for-value, from spiraling costs to cost efficiencies, from episodic care to collaborative care, and from reaction to prevention and well-being.
Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Media conducted a survey in 2013, on behalf of Philips Healthcare, a leading provider of health care enterprise software solutions and medical devices. The purpose was to determine how hospitals and health systems are prioritizing technology investment and adoption to address health care reform initiatives, as well as preparing to meet Meaningful Use (MU) Stage 2 criteria, which begins in 2014 (Philips Healthcare: Produced in partnership with HIMSS Media, 2013). With nearly 40 percent of C-level respondents (predominantly CIOs) and another 30 percent comprising IT directors and managers, the survey provides a solid snapshot of the current state of health care IT in the acute-care setting. The findings reveal the need for a patient-centric health information exchange (HIE) capable of providing interoperable (i.e., connected) care to enable care anywhere for both health care providers and their patients. These findings indicate HIE is going to be the focus in MU Stage 2 and the 2014 Edition Standards & Certification Criteria.
Considering these facts, it is evident that MU Stage 2 objectives and 2014 Final Rule are likely to trigger the high expectations for HIE and potentially even more patient-centered health information exchange in Stage 3. Final Rule will serve to foster interoperability in many ways and lead to advances in HIE and provide the foundations for strong national information exchange among providers to improve outcomes and engage patients.
Mary Butler (2014), an associate editor at the Journal of American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) extracts similar opinions of health care experts by taking account of major 2013 Healthcare Information Management (HIM) stories and how they may impact health care in 2014. These opinions confirm that prominent issues of 2013 such as MU of electronic health records incentive programs, ICD-10, and HIE, will continue to dominate health care provider IT leaders' attention in 2014. Some of the dominant topics/issues Butler discusses are: regional extension centers, HITECH Act Changes to be finalized by Department of Health and Human Services for HIPAA Privacy Rule with respect to accounting of disclosures, and the Blue Button Initiative-a federal project launched several years back (to give Veterans Administration and Medicare beneficiaries access to their protected health information), but gaining momentum again in the health care domain, for giving patients electronic access to their personal health information via Blue Button from a patient portal.
While 2013 witnessed the emergence of information governance, a very hot area within HIM, Linda Kloss discusses in a video why information governance's role will continue to be a challenger during and beyond 2014 for HIM leadership (Kloss, 2014). With a similar focus, a recent white paper summarizes the Executive Leadership Panel Discussion, led by SAS Chief Medical Officer Dr. Graham Hughes, to underline that data and analytics are at the core of the patient-centered and personalized ideal, and the potential is huge. Some of the examples discussed include genomic data, clinical trial data, electronic health records, claims data, and research study data (i.e., terabytes and petabytes of it), which can be brought together to reveal important discoveries and support better decisions, e.g., toward analytics-based drug discovery processes, evidence-based medicine, and protocol-based medicine (SAS, 2013).
Keeping in view the aforementioned facts, the beginning of 2014 is a good time to reflect on 2013's accomplishments in HIM, and ongoing 2013-2014 challenges that health care provider IT leadership will need to cope with in 2014 and beyond.
Butler, M. (2014). The Year Ahead for HIM: Reflecting on HIM's past year, and looking to its future in 2014. Journal of AHIMA, 88(1), 24-28.
Kloss, L. (2014, January 1). HIMinute: The Emerging Role of Information Governance in HIM. Retrieved from American Health Information Management Association: http://journal.ahima.org/2014/01/01/himinute-the-emerging-role-of-information-governance-in-him/
Philips Healthcare: Produced in partnership with HIMSS Media. (2013). The New Healthcare: Leveraging Healthcare IT to Achieve Connected Care, Healthcare Reform. Retrieved from HIMSS Media: http://whitepapers.medtechmedia.com/sites/default/files/Philips%20white%20paper.pdf
SAS. (2013). White Papers. (S. W. Paper, Ed.) Retrieved February 20, 2014, from Applying Data to Improve Patient-Centric and Personalized Medicine: http://www.sas.com/content/dam/SAS/en_us/doc/conclusionpaper1/applying-data-improve-patient-centric-personalized-medicine-106556.pdfSatyendra Kaith is an adjunct faculty member at Kaplan University. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not represent the view of Kaplan University.
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