Innovation in Interoperability and Engaging Patients

Putting data in patient hands, the construction of an open API, and interoperability are big hopes for the future of health information technology (IT), according to panelists at the annual meeting of the Office of the national Coordinator for Health IT.
Published Online: February 03, 2015
Laura Joszt
Putting data in patient hands, the construction of an open API, and interoperability are big hopes for the future of health information technology (IT), according to panelists at the annual meeting of the Office of the national Coordinator for Health IT.
 
As a provider, Gregory Downing, MD, PhD, executive director for innovation at HHS, expressed his ongoing desire to be able to use information for timely, accurate decisions in critical care, but the healthcare industry is still not there yet.
 
“I mean we have all the computing capability, we have the digital transmission capabilities, but the systems aren’t working together,” he said. “Those are the kinds of problems that I think are meaningful to a lot of docs that I work with and they should be important elements to the people that we work for.”
 
Aneesh Chopra, former US chief technology officer, expressed his passion for getting patients to be able to connect and share their data with trusted apps or third-party service providers; however, providers currently cannot connect that data and those apps to the electronic health record for a variety of reasons.
 
Neil Evans, MD, co-director of connected health at the Veterans Administration (VA), highlighted virtual care, which the VA has pushed to make the first option of care, but explained that it is difficult to get patients to adopt virtual care, because it isn’t easy on the providers end.
 
“If you don’t make virtual care easy to use, if you don’t get the data in front of the clinicians in a way that’s understandable, that is computable and usable, they’re less likely to invite their patients to utilize virtual care modalities, and we’re less likely to delivery that delightful experience to you as a consumer of healthcare,” he said.
 
Alice Borrelli, director of global health and workforce policy at Intel, discussed the company’s accountable care organization (ACO), Connected Care, which promised better connection to the healthcare system. She outlined the 4 major criterions of the ACO: getting access to care quickly; receiving care at the right place; providing evidence-based medicine; and hitting the right price. After the first year, the company met 3 or the 4 points but missed on price.
 
“So it’s hard to hit that triple aim,” she said. “We’re still learning, we’re looking at our measurement, and we know we need significant investment upfront in those patient-centered medical homes so that we could do a long range approach to medical care.”

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