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5 Aspects of Health IT Innovation

Laura Joszt
Panelists at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (IT)’s Annual Meeting discussed their perspectives on health IT innovation and expectations for 2018.
With the health system moving to a value-based care environment and more patient data being collected, new health information technology (IT) innovations are needed to make the data usable to improve care. During a panel discussion at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT’s Annual Meeting, panelists discussed their perspectives on health IT innovation and what they expect to be important in 2018.

1. Public–Private Partnerships

The ecosystem of health IT innovation is not about 1 or 2 stakeholders figuring out how to remove barriers and improve care, said Sylvia Trujilla, senior counsel of the American Medical Association (AMA). Collaborations among all stakeholders will be necessary in order to innovate and integrate data into clinical practice. She pointed out that there will only be more data, not less, going forward.

2. Building Community

AMA is working on 2 initiatives that will build a community to find solutions for data and integration. The first was described as “ meets LinkedIn.” The idea is to provide a forum for healthcare entrepreneurs to meet up with clinicians interested in partnering to work on new innovative breakthroughs in practice.

The second initiative, called the Integrated Health Model, is a long-term initiative the support a crowdsourcing collaborative environment to have a common data model in which the health system can collect, organize, exchange, and analyze critical data elements.

3. Supply- to Demand-Based Innovation

For too long, the healthcare system has worked with supply-based innovations, in which people build what they want and sell it. Instead, these should be demand-based innovations, where the model is built after finding out what physicians and hospitals need, said Ashish Atreja, chief innovation officer at Mt. Sinai Hospital.

4. “Death by Pilot”

One of the biggest challenges with health IT innovation is an abundance of pilots, Atreja said. The problem is that hospitals and health systems decide to test a pilot for a new innovation without realizing how many others are doing the same pilot.

“What a waste of energy,” he said. “We have to change that.”

The result was a new nonprofit that allowed health systems to learn from one another’s pilot programs so they weren’t duplicating efforts.

5. Information at the Physician’s Fingertips

The future of healthcare has to allow providers to have all the information that they need right in front of them. They should have at their fingertips what the payer needs so they can get reimbursed, the rules for referrals, what is necessary to follow care plans, and more, said Robert Dieterle, CEO of EnableCare. Innovation in health IT needs to enable a provider to get everything right the first time, without having to go into the reference material or find someone at the front desk. 

“If we can do that, we will have achieved a significant goal of moving healthcare forward in this country,” he said.

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