5 Can’t Miss Insights from HealthIMPACT East

Shahid N. Shah, Charles Jaffe, Jacob Reider MD, David Whitlinger discuss system interoperability at IMN HealthIMPACT East Summit. Photo by Edward Egan.

Shahid N. Shah, Charles Jaffe, Jacob Reider, MD, and David Whitlinger discuss system interoperability. Photo by Edward Egan.

The Information Management Network (IMN) hosted it’s 3rd annual HealthIMPACT East conference at the Union League Club in downtown NYC on Feb 27, 2015. The event featured a town-hall style forum that produced lively discussion between panelists and an audience of over 250 CEOs, CMIOs, CIOs and more from healthcare, data, research, regulatory and IT sectors.

The agenda covered many topics – data integration and system interoperability, patient engagement, data governance, meaningful use, clinical informatics, clinical decision support, mobility, cost and resources, and innovation – with the goal of focusing on strategies that will deliver measurable results while also prioritizing teamwork. Here are a few noteworthy insights that you’ll wish you didn’t miss:

1. Value (& Complication) in IT

Conference chair Shahid N. Shah, an internationally recognized and influential thought leader known as “The Healthcare IT Guy,” began the discussion by asking about the true value of IT in healthcare. “Value needs to be strategic and part of the original plan,” he said. “The clearest problem is that it is the hardest thing to measure and communicate. People want immediate results but value is based over time – how long is it going to take to get there? And how much money needs to be spent to see results?”

2. Innovation BS?

The big question here: “Is innovation in healthcare possible or is it all BS?”

Panelists Ed Marx, SVP & CIO at Texas Health Resources and 2014 IW Healthcare CIO of the Year, and Michael Restuccia, VP & CIO at the University of Pennsylvania Health System, believe that we need to work together in order to allow innovation to prosper. Collaboration is the key component of innovative change. How well are organizations able to operate independently and interdependently? We need to understand ourselves before reaching outward. We need to understand our budgets and change culture perceptions.

“IT or innovative technology solutions? What sounds better to you? Which would you rather have at your organization? It’s about the culture you set,” said Marx.

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Panelists Ed Marx & Dr. Shafiq Rab. Photo via @meganantonelli.

3. The Shortcomings of the EHR

The separation of doctors and patients has never been more prevalent as it is when a computer divides the two. When a doctor is consulting a computer screen, patients complain of a decreasing patient-physician relationship. Meanwhile, doctors complain about arduous forms, checkboxes and structured information. The problem? Medicine follows a flow that is lacking in many current EHR models.

According to John Chelico MD, Chief Informatics Officer of North Shore University Hospital and Long Island Jewish Medical Center, “An EHR needs to ‘think’ more like a doctor. It needs to follow clinical logic instead of administrative logic.”

4. Information Transparency, Needed

How many times have you, as a patient, seen your medical records? For most of us, that number is quite small, with hospitals and health systems acting as gatekeepers. These systems are worried that patients won’t know how to interpret their health data – but should that be up to the systems?

“We’re focusing on patient empowerment here. Patients deserve to have the same information as every member of the care team. Patients are in the fight for their life and should be part of their own team,” said Kristin Darby, Chief Information Officer at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

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Folks from iTriage discuss potential mhealth solutions with attendees. Photo via @iTriage.

5. Interoperability Barriers

For systems to be interoperable, they must be able to exchange data and subsequently present that data so that it can be understood by any user. The problem is that vendors have little incentive for enabling the sharing of health information across vendor boundaries, and enormous investments force hospitals to overcommit to a single EHR system.

Luis E. Taveras PhD, Senior VP and Chief Information Officer at Barnabas Health considered this. “When will we really have the market capability for interoperability to happen?” he asked. “Or will we have to wait for the government to make it happen? We have to take it on our own for that to happen. Different solutions have to come together to fight specific problems, one by one.”

To close out the summit, Dr. Shafiq Rab, VP & CIO of Hackensack University Medical Center, also spoke passionately about innovation and interoperability.

“Healthcare will never change until we figure out the money issue,” he said. “This is both a social and legal problem. We must sit down, fight and use our brains, resources and collaboration to make interoperability happen. We must make our providers accountable for our health records.”

Edward Egan

Edward Egan

    Egan is the lead editor of the newly-formed NYC branch of MedTech Boston. He holds a BA in Biological Sciences from Rutgers University and will start medical school next year. He also has an extensive background in healthcare policy through his past work with NJ Senator Joseph Vitale, the Visiting Nurse Association Health Group and numerous urban care research initiatives. If you’re interested in writing for MedTech NYC, email him at eddy@medtechnyc.com.

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