The 2011 ehealth National Forum on Health Information Exchange (HIE) was held July 14, 2011 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. The conference consisted of numerous panel discussions and brought together an array of nationwide health care leaders. The goal of this year's conference was to discuss challenges and best practices needed to achieve sustainable national health information exchange. Areas of discussion included the following:
- How HIEs can work with the Direct Project
- Coordinating efforts for success with insurance exchanges and HIE
- Meaningful use through HIEs
- Different revenue models for sustainability
- IT infrastructure required to support accountable care organizations
A major theme throughout the conference was the importance of presentation of data produced by information exchanges. During a panel discussion on using analytics to transform health care, much attention was given to exploring ways in which HIEs can present data in a way that provides the most value to the delivery of care. With all of the initiatives resulting from health care reform, hospitals are being forced to reorganize their departments, services to customers, and overall capabilities. President and CEO of Cal eConnect Carladenise Edwards, PhD, described health officials as a "verb" - enablers of the exchange of information - and that we need to not move away from this reality. She emphasized the importance of creating a pipe-to-the-tube to enable data flow so it can be used in a meaningful way. Unsurprisingly, the issue of privacy and security continues to pose a tremendous challenge in the effectiveness of the data exchange and workflow. Edwards explained how there is fear in what to do with the information from the exchanges once it is received, and the security of its transfer.
The Direct Project, launched in March 2010, was designed to improve the transport of health information by making it faster and more secure. According to Edwards, the project has received many praise and criticism. She said there is still not a succinct way of getting information from point A to point B. For that, doctors continue to have trouble figuring out patients' previous encounters, which is detrimental to their service of care. Todd Perry, partner with Accenture, noted that the breadth of information obtained from the exchanges is growing exponentially; however, there are still many challenges with where one starts and how the information is consumed. Though Edwards shared her confidence in the Direct Project allowing patients to get better access to information, she stressed that it must be taken to the next level. The information must be visually transformed in a way that allows quick and swift analyzing. With that said, at the end of the day, the role of analytics is to make patient data computable.
More than ever, now is the time for vendors to really start thinking about innovative ways patient data can be transformed to enhance the delivery and speed of care. Health officials are still searching for more ways in which HIEs can demonstrate meaningful use. Capturing data alone is not enough. There is far more value in physicians being able to see and use the data in a way they can analyze and make the best decisions for their patients.
For a more in-depth summary of this year's Forum, download a copy of GovWin's latest Analyst Recap, here.