At last month's CIO Healthcare Summit in Dallas, several presentations highlighted new horizons for healthcare IT.
Jamie Ferguson of Kaiser Permanente discussed the Care Connectivity Consortium, which is advancing the interoperability of care data. The consortium's founders (including Kaiser Permanente) found the FedConnect gateway deficient, so they spent a couple of months writing their own powerful gateway, which is available to the public at no cost.
Phil Fegan described his transition from a chief information officer position to being vice president for excellence in patient care at HealthCare Partners Nevada. He discussed his CEO's vision to drive a single cultural value through the organization -- excellence in patient care. Instead of implementing systems for the convenience of the healthcare provider, he said, providers should focus on convenience for the patient. Healthcare organizations are in business because patients come to them, and as long as patients continue to do so, people in these organizations will have jobs.
Pamela Peele, chief analytics officer of UPMC Health Plan, demonstrated the importance of analytics in improving patient care by analyzing claims data. She explained the difference between reporting and analytics: Reporting is looking at an inventory of what already exists, but analytics is building new information based on what you already have. I thought that was a great distinction. Peele recognized that the claims data she used for analytics had been created for a different purpose, yet it was a rich data set that offered many insights.
She said she likes to hire people who have advanced degrees and are formally trained but are not blinded by their training. Her group uses open-source tools such as GEPHI for showing patterns.
Arvind Kumar of CRICO, the insurer for the Harvard medical institutions, discussed risk mitigation and the reduction of malpractice claims. The insurer has been able to lower the cost of premiums for doctors, and now it has one of the lowest rates of claims paid in the industry. It gives doctors an incentive to improve: Those who meet performance goals get reduced insurance rates. When the insurer sees a problem, it brings all parties together and address the problem.
Finally, Vi Shaffer, an analyst at Gartner, gave us a glimpse into the future, when the model of care is transformed from high-cost, high-risk, and periodic engagement with the patient to persistent, low-cost, and low-risk interaction. "Your e-doctor will see you now," said Shaffer.
These cutting-edge presentations made me feel great about the future of health IT.
— Mansur Hasib has served in CIO/CISO and other leadership roles in the public, private, and education sectors.