HIMSS is a global, cause-based, not-for-profit organization focused on better health through information technology (IT).

HIMSS15: IT Enabling Health/Care Where People Live, Work and Play

by Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, iHealthBeat, Monday, April 20, 2015

There were two overarching, converging themes at HIMSS15: Partnering for connectivity and person-centered care. Together, these two major themes move health IT from a product to a connector and enabler for individual and population health where people live, work, play and learn.

On the connectivity front, not-the-usual bedfellows came together at HIMSS15. This was most vividly and entertainingly represented by the joint presence of two major health IT CEOs in a sort of dueling comic relief at the annual (in)famous HIStalkapalooza party: Judy Faulkner, CEO of Epic, and Jonathan Bush, CEO of athenahealth. At the HIStalk event, these two influential health IT leaders traded barbs on stage and connected in good fun, resulting in a pie thrown in Bush's face by a volunteer in the audience.

Faulkner and Bush are a symbol for the yin and yang we see this year in health IT: That there are many ways to accomplish meaningful use, engage patients and build electronic health records. In other words, different health IT strokes for different folks, and novel connections being made between companies that, traditionally, have never worked together -- health IT, consumer electronics, pharma and medical devices.

One of the largest and most engaging exhibits on the floor was HIMSS Connected Patient Gallery, which was sponsored by Walgreen. "Walgreen?," you ask. "What's a pharmacy chain doing at HIMSS?" Consider the payment regime moving from volume to value, combined with consumers taking greater financial responsibility for first-dollar payment in high-deductible health plans, and you will understand the rationale for moving care into the community closer to peoples'/patients' homes. Moreover, Walgreens’ displays in the Connected Patient Gallery demonstrated the connections the company is making with strategic partnerships, described by Walgreen President Alex Gourlay as a key pillar for the company's growth strategy in his keynote speech at HIMSS.

Walgreen's long list of partners includes:

  • CIGNA, which delivers financial wellness and transparency to plan members through the health plan's cost estimator bringing;
  • Honeywell, which provides remote health monitoring to the home;
  • Merck Manual, which channels information to consumers;
  • MDLIVE, which provides telehealth services;
  • PatientsLikeMe, the patient social network;
  • SocialWellth, Striiv and Withings, which offer digital health tools to health-driven consumers; and
  • WebMD, which enables chronic condition management (for diabetes, among other diseases) via the Walgreens mobile app;

Meanwhile, Practice Fusion is working with ePatientFinder to help more effectively link patients with clinical trials, creating a so-called EHR-based clinical trial network. Typically, community-based physicians -- Practice Fusion's core client base -- aren't scaled to help their patients identify appropriate clinical trial opportunities. With some 50 million patient encounters each year across the EHR company's client base, this could be an important new on-ramp for more patients eligible to participate in research studies.

The EHR developer is also partnering with AstraZeneca, the pharmaceutical company, on a population health management program for people managing respiratory diseases, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The program will identify patients within the Practice Fusion community whose care is not consistent with evidence-based guidelines according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease.

Focused on consumers' health, IBM announced the Watson Health Cloud, a HIPAA-enabled open platform for health and wellness that can be used by consumers, health plans, providers and researchers to support people's health. At launch, IBM's partners include Apple, Johnson & Johnson and Medtronic. Meanwhile, IBM acquired Explorys and Phytel to bolster data analytics for the program. The Watson Health Cloud will be able to cull data from EHRs, personal digital health devices and sensors, as well as genomic information.

Another novel partnership across industry sectors that is moving care to where people live is Cleveland Clinic's association with Cox Cable. The organizations have joined to establish Vivre Health, which will address telehealth services for home care, remote health monitoring and virtual physician home visits -- a new form factor for the house call. This cable TV "pipe" could also be used to monitor patients after discharge from the hospital, managing the risk of patient readmission and subsequent financial penalty under Medicare.

Garnering my reward for announcing the longest list of partnerships is Apple. The Apple Watch is bursting at its band's seams with health alliances announced at HIMSS:

  • Anthem and CareEvolution created a cFHR app providing alerts for health management;
  • athenatext, a text app for athenahealth-using physicians, leveraging the Epocrates physician list;
  • BACtrack, a blood alcohol level test;
  • Cerner's HealtheLife;
  • Clue, a fertility tool;
  • Dexcom for glucose monitoring;
  • Doximity, the physician social network;
  • Drchrono for EHR functions such as appointments, messages, labs and electronic prescriptions;
  • Health Care Service Corporation's Centered app for stress and mindful meditation;
  • HealthTap's DocNow video physician consults for $2.99 per minute;
  • InstaMed for using ApplePay with health providers;
  • Kaiser Permanente's Every Body Walk! App;
  • Medisafe for medication management;
  • OneDrop for diabetes;
  • Qardio for heart health;
  • Spire for stress management;
  • Walgreen for medication adherence;
  • WebMD for medication reminders; and
  • Vocera for medical app alerts.

Many other health-related apps for the Apple Watch were announced in advance of the HIMSS conference. Apple has also been working with health care providers using HealthKit. At the HIMSS conference, Duke Medicine presented its case study on working with Apple to prevent hospital readmissions.

Ricky Bloomfield -- director of Mobile Technology Strategy and assistant professor of Internal Medicine-Pediatrics at Duke Medicine -- said had worked on "as seamlessly as we hoped" it would. Bloomfield emphasized that, "What I really like about the system is that it puts all of the controls into the hands of the patient."

This patient-centered ethos also came through in the HX360 Innovation Challenge, a venture capital competition sponsored by Philips (which recently sold off its lighting unit to plow resources into digital health), Providence Health and many other organizations. HIMSS and AVIA, a provider-led health care technology accelerator, are partners in HX360.

I was a judge in the last round of the competition and was struck by the consumer/patient focus of the final four competitors. The final winners were Ginger.io and WiserCare, both of which are ruthlessly focused on personalized health and leveraging technology and data analytics.

Having attended the annual HIMSS conferences for the better part of two decades, I can say definitively that the person -- the patient, consumer and caregiver -- has never been more present in both the educational program and the products emerging out of development. We have miles to go on that truly consumer-directed health journey, but it's clear that improving patient satisfaction -- beyond meaningful use -- has gained traction, becoming the top business objective for health IT executives, according to the 26th annual HIMSS Leadership Survey.

The fact that it's the CIO who's articulating patient-centeredness, and not the sole voice of CMO (whether "M" is for "marketing" or "medical"), is truly meaningful. Those of us active in the patient advocacy world have a mantra: "No MU without ME." That vision could well be realized by the kinds of partnerships we've begun to see at the HIMSS conference in 2015, with health IT tools helping people outside of the hospital bed, and instead, in daily living.

Source: iHealthBeat, Monday, April 20, 2015

Interoperability, Usability, and the ONC 2015 Edition Certification

"Satisfaction and usability ratings for certified electronic health records (EHRs) have decreased since 2010 among clinicians across a range of indicators.”

This announcement was made 5 years ago the 2013 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Conference & Exhibition by Michael S. Barr, MD, MBA, FACP.