Health IT’s Role and Impact in 2013: A HIMSS – #NHITWeek Blog Carnival Round-Up

from the NHIT Week Public Relations and Social Media Teams at HIMSS

Welcome to National Health IT Week! This collaborative forum, which is entering its seventh year, will bring together public and private healthcare constituents to educate industry and policy stakeholders on the value of health IT.

Each year, National Health IT Week offers a valuable reflection of how health IT has continued to develop over the years. James Tcheng, from the ACC’s Informatics Committee, aptly described the evolution of health IT conversations in his recent ACC in Touch Blog post, “Only a few years ago, the conversation was focused on how to choose an EHR system. Today, we have moved beyond basic implementation to discussing how best to leverage systems to provide meaningful and timely clinical decision support, improve patient communications, reduce errors, and improve delivery of high quality care.” In fact, we couldn’t agree more with James’ statement.

To celebrate this event, we launched the inaugural #NHITWeek Blog Carnival to foster a discussion on the future of health IT and invited those with a passion for the topic to share their thoughts on how health IT will make a difference a year from now. 

We wanted to thank all of our blog carnival participants for submitting such compelling posts and are thrilled to see continued support and passion for health IT from these valued industry experts. The posts we reviewed had many unique ideas about where health IT is heading! Across all the submissions, there were five specific themes present in many of the posts that we’ve highlighted below.

It’s All About Patient Engagement

Healthcare is about the patient, and a strong theme across posts was the impact health IT will have on patient engagement. Right off the bat, Rich Elmore from Allscripts made a great point stating that times are changing as medical information no longer belongs to just the doctor, but to the patient as well. As a result of this change, patients are now seeking to get more involved in their own healthcare.

But, what is health IT’s role in fostering such patient engagement? According to Jennifer Thew from HL7 Standards, improved patient engagement will be the result of an increase in ePatients – consumers who use their smartphones and tablets to manage their own healthcare. She highlights how “EHR-toting patients” take the guesswork out of collecting history; by taking control of their own healthcare through digital tools, ePatients will help improve physician workflow efficiency, patient safety and overall quality of care.

Jennifer Dennard from EMR & EHR also notes that physicians should expect to encounter more patients “who are used to having instant access to up-to-the-minute information on everything.” As a result, these patients firmly believe that obtaining “their personal health information should be no different” and will turn to digital tools to access it.

Scott Mace from HealthLeaders, also predicts a rise in this trend of patients demanding their health medical data from providers and payors.

Justin Barnes from Greenway Medical Technologies also discusses the rise the patient-consumer or a person who is no longer a passive participant in their own healthcare. According to Justin, such patient-consumers instead embrace healthcare technology to actively seek “quality, affordability and access to their data.” 

Want to read more insight into health IT’s impact on patient engagement? Then make sure you check out Executive Insight: Boardroom Buzz for Adrianne O’Brien’s thoughts on wearable technology’s role in increasing patient engagement, the Healthcare EMR Blog post regarding the consumerization of health IT and the Net New Growth, LLC post on patient and physician empowerment through health IT.

 mHealth and Telemedicine are Here to Stay

Mobile healthcare is not going away any time soon according to our blog carnival experts. For instance, as Fred Pennic from Health IT Consultant states, the mHealth industry stands to become a $5.9 billion industry by 2017. The mobile health market will “continue to disrupt and create new business models” eventually leading to improved access to care, patient engagement and more importantly patient satisfaction. 

This growth is for good reason too. Paul Cerrato from InformationWeek Healthcare recently cited a 2012 Priorities Survey which found that “66% [of surveyed doctors] cited iPads or other tablets” as their preferred mobile device, which was up from 45% from the previous year. This preference will continue to grow as doctors are now provided with access to “EHR data, drug reference materials, and a host of valuable data that in the past was only available in the office or hospital.”

Scott Mace also shares his insight into which mHealth technology providers should keep an eye on in 2013. In his HealthLeaders post, Scott notes that providers will soon realize just how expensive, oversized and underutilized their videoconferencing system really is. From there, providers will begin to transition to the more cost-effective and portable tablets as their preferred videoconferencing technology.

The folks at CDW Healthcare have their own thoughts about the impact that health IT, specifically telemedicine, will have in 2013. In their Industry View blog post, CDW Healthcare noted that having “physical proximity to your healthcare provider” will no longer matter. In fact, thanks to telemedicine, physicians are now able to provide quality healthcare via “e-visits”, otherwise known as a digital house calls, which can lead to improved and efficient patient care while containing costs.

The Future of EHRs, EMRs and PHRs

Everywhere we looked this year, there was new information on the rise of the EHR and EMR markets. So, where are these industries heading?

Dr. Jamie Coffin from Dell believes that 2013 will be the year of EMR adoption.  While this market has been slow to take off in recent years, he notes that providers will continue to invest in EMR solutions as this technology will be “leveraged not only for documentation and exchange, but also for expert diagnosis and analytics.”

According to Paul Cerrato, personal health records (PHRs) may be the way to go for improved patient healthcare management.  In his InformationWeek Healthcare post, Paul states that while PHRs have not been rapidly adopted by consumers in the past, 2013 could be the year we see this digital technology “link personal health records to EHRs,” especially for the consumers who are facing chronic, life-threatening disorders. 

The Growing Role of Connectivity and the Cloud in Healthcare

Connectivity is crucial to improving the healthcare experience and as such, this was yet another strong theme we noticed across several posts. For instance, Ruby Raley from the Axway Blog Center, made a great point when stating that connectivity was more than just public HIEs or a private physician to hospital network. In fact, according to Ruby, connectivity is truly the “ability to exchange health records with all those who need access to improved care and connected clinical-records collections.” We could not agree more, especially with her statement about the essential need for such connectivity to improve patient care.  

The folks over at Rackspace also noted providers should not discount the cloud as a tool to deliver higher quality healthcare.

In their recently released infographic, they reveal that “70% of healthcare providers are planning to deploy cloud technologies like email, collaboration, scheduling and more.”  Through its streamlined processes, cloud technology provides not just doctors, but also patients, with “better access to medical data, more control and consistency in care, and reduces the time healthcare entities spend on administration.” As cloud computing technologies continue to provide these types of benefits it’s no wonder why the market is expected to exceed $5.4 billion over the next few years!  

Renewed Focus on Health IT Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Finally, health IT innovation is an exciting trend and theme for 2013. Kyle Armbrester from athenahealth notes that keeping to the status quo is no longer an option and that “enabling disruptive innovation” is key to improving healthcare. Kyle even suggests we keep an eye out for new non-healthcare focused entrants in 2013, including “technologists, engineers, artists and information designers,” whose companies and products will “change health care in truly disruptive ways.”

In his EMR & HIPAA post, John Lynn shares his perspective on how “2013 will be the year of the Health IT Entrepreneur.” According to John, we’ll be seeing the birth of dozens of influential health IT startups this year, largely due to the influence of “healthcare IT incubators and accelerator programs.”

Kali Durgampudi from Nuance also offers his thoughts on innovation, noting that creativity in health IT is finally starting to reappear. Among several topics, Kali examines mobile innovation noting that voice technology will be a creative way to resolve the issues surrounding the limited abilities of mHealth applications.

In Their Own Words ….

We received so many outstanding posts for our #NHITWeek Blog Carnival, but some brought some new ideas beyond the previously discussed topics. We wanted to highlight each of these authors while we were at it:

  • Naveen Rao, health, wealth and happiness blog – examines the substantial advances in the health IT that’s available to patients, survivors, families and others affected by cancer.
  • Chad Johnson, Corepoint Health Blog – shares insight from four Corepoint Health experts regarding the futures of healthcare standards, HIEs, interoperability and patient engagement.
  • Brian Parrish, Dodge Communications Blog – offers insight from three health IT colleagues on the growth of ACOs as a result of health IT, valued-based reimbursement, clinical data and the evolution of health IT systems as intelligent agents.
  • Scott Mace, HealthLeaders – explains the rise of a required national patient and provider ID system to help prevent EHR fraud.
  • Amanda Guisbond, SHIFT HealthyComms – discusses how health IT will no longer be a niche movement that separate from the overall healthcare trend, but instead will be viewed as an essential part of the larger healthcare conversation.
  • Josh Berman, OnRamp Blog – examines the rates of technology adoption and the increased trust providers will have in IT to protect patient data. 
  • Danny van Leeuwen, Health Hats – shares his thoughts on the increased demand for spiritual advisors, interpreters, change agents and choreographers to relieve the tension between the early health IT adopter and the general consumer.
  • Daniel, StateHealthIT – examines the role EMRs have in improving patient care, specifically pointing to the recent Blue Button Initiative.                                      

One of the questions posed to anyone involved in health IT during our NHIT Week Blog Carnival, via the HIMSS Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter platforms, is this:  Health IT is…

Here is a perspective from Farzad Mostashari, MD, ScM, national coordinator for Health IT, ONC, from an April 2012 article in Healthcare IT News, which appears on the HIMSS Facebook Page

Given the complexities of health IT, every person will have his or her definition of what it means to them. Share your story with HIMSS’ Facebook community.   

Nancy Cooney, a registered nurse at Georgetown University Medical Center, gave her definition on HIMSS LinkedIn Group, where she said, “IT makes it easier to have up-to-date information, prevent unnecessary duplicate tests (saves time and $), ability to assess current patient status from multiple locations. IT streamlines charting, data and trends. IT is the way to go forward faster.”

We also looked at other blogs to see what some familiar health IT bloggers might be saying. Dr. John Halamka offered his insights on “how we can best innovate/change our EHRs while also operating them to transact daily patient care?” and the value of having HL7 standards freely available for all.  John D. Halamka, MD, MS, is chief information officer of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, chairman of the New England Healthcare Exchange Network (NEHEN), co-chair of the HIT Standards Committee, a full professor at Harvard Medical School, and a practicing emergency physician.

Do you have your own thoughts on health IT? Then, tell us about them in the comments below or stop by the 9/14 #HITsm Twitter chat at noon ET, where @HIMSS and @HealthStandards will be moderating a discussion focused on National Health IT Week.  For more information, including questions for the chat, please visit the HL7 Standards blog!

About Joyce Lofstrom, MS, APR

Joyce Lofstrom, MS, APR, is HIMSS Senior Director, Corporate Communications.
This entry was posted in Blogging, Health IT News and Developments, Patient-Centered Systems, Public Policy and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Health IT’s Role and Impact in 2013: A HIMSS – #NHITWeek Blog Carnival Round-Up

  1. John Lynn says:

    Nice compilation. Thanks for including my post in the roundup. I still believe that this will be considered the Golden Age of health IT.

    • Joyce Lofstrom, MS, APR says:

      Thank you for participating in our Blog Carnival. It will be interesting to see if your expectation for the next year as the Golden Age of health IT does indeed happen. Joyce

  2. Health IT is the communication lever that will shift the patient from being the recipient of care to being a core member and even provider of their own health care team. #NHITWeek

    • Joyce Lofstrom, MS, APR says:

      I have to agree with you, Sherry, because from my own perspetive as a patient, I (as any patient) must be part of that healthcare team. Thanks for commenting. Joyce

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