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Dr Joseph Gifford Discusses Health IT Issues in ACOs

Getting health information technology (IT) to work in one provider system can be difficult enough, but in ACOs, they have multiple systems on different platforms, explained Joseph Gifford, MD, chief executive officer of the Providence-Swedish Health Alliance.

Getting health information technology (IT) to work in one provider system can be difficult enough, but in ACOs, they have multiple systems on different platforms, explained Joseph Gifford, MD, chief executive officer of the Providence-Swedish Health Alliance.

What health IT and interoperability challenges do the Providence-Swedish Health Alliance ACOs face?

It’s a huge challenge. It’s worse than even you even might think. It’s not just how do you get Epic to work for a provider system so it works smoothly. It’s not that—that is one thing. What if you have a partnership of 5 different provider systems, each of which is on a different instance of Epic and 1 is on Centricity and you’re trying to coordinate with an employer, like Boeing, who has data sources from Blue Cross of Illinois and pharmacy from Express Scripts and enrollment data from Aeon and multiple wellness vendors, and a behavioral wellness vendor that’s carved out. And you have to take all of this information and coordinate it in a way that is actionable for the providers to give better care.

It’s a phenomenal problem. We’ll be working on that one for 20 years. So it’s like it won’t be fixed any time soon, but its time to get started. We just go one step at a time. We take information, provide reports, and just kind of work at it one step at a time.

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