IMN’s 3rd Annual HealthIMPACT Forum

HealthIMPACTBy Sarianne Gruber
Twitter: @subtleimpact

Kudos to HealthIMPACT for orchestrating a conference of exceptional Health IT leaders from across the country to shared their experiences and views in building a better and more robust healthcare system.  At the all day event on February 27, the banquet hall at the historic Union League Club in New York City was filled to capacity with CIOs, CFOs, CMIOs, IT leaders, physicians, nurses and administrators from prestigious tri-state area health care organizations.  This year’s conference chair was Shahid Shah, internationally known as the “The Health IT Guy “, and a winner of the “Fed 100” award for his contributions to federal agencies. Unlike other conferences, the panelists give personal recounts of both successful projects and those less successful in an unscripted and candid manner. The relaxed dialogue encourages the audience to ask unabashed questions that enrich everyone’s learnings.

Gentlemen of Innovation – Morning speakers, Edward Marx, Senior Vice President, Chief Information Officer from Texas Health Resources and Michael Restuccia, Vice President and Chief Information Officer from the University of Pennsylvania Health System broached the topic of establishing a culture and process for innovation. “You need innovation”, affirmed Marx. He advocates to his 700 person staff to take one full day to shadow clinicians and connect to needs of the healthcare employees for it is the best way to get your “irons sharpened”. Marx also calls for going once a year to visit other companies outside of healthcare to increase innovation. A Texas Health Resources success story is the handing out a telehealth Bluetooth kit for monitoring high risk patients at home; it effectively reduced readmissions with $40 million in savings. At the University of Pennsylvania, CIO Restuccia embraces 40 innovation teams. Perhaps disruptive, these low budget start ups of smart kids are working on a make or break theory. Yet, each idea goes through testing in all departments. Restuccia, knows firsthand when working with start ups, the importance of a team approach, the time and effort to foster change in workflow, and the gain in shadowing clinical care. For innovation to work you have to have stability, you have to have scalability, you have to have input from patients, clinicians and staff, and most importantly know what to you expect to achieve.

A Man for all Data – Dr. Shafiq Rab, Vice President & Chief Information Officer at Hackensack University Medical Center, is a big supporter of scaling IT to transform healthcare delivery. He presented his work on “Saving lives and time with a Modified Early Warning System (MEWS) that effectively leverages the clinical data stored in the EMR”, and exudes a passion for data and proactive analytics to improve heart patients’ outcomes. He recalls it only took about 4 hours to template an early warning system and select data to formulate scores. Yet, it took approximately 18 months to implement MEWS as an acuity scoring system in Epic. Key vital signs (temperature, blood pressure, pulse, respiratory rate, SpO2, FiO2 and level of consciousness) and labs (WBC, Creatinine and Anion Gap) were selected for the components of the scoring system. A high or low recorded value gets converted to a 0, 1, 2 or 3 score and then all variable scores are aggregated into final MEWS score. The technical solution for the modified MEWs requires a common service layer, https web services, a device agnostic system and embedded predictive algorithms. The MEWS component and aggregate scores are available for consensus viewing, plus automated reports are sent to key medical recipients twice daily. Dr. Rab, harbors the utmost enthusiasm, reminds the audience to move faster because “IT saves lives”.

The Three Kings of Interoperability – A hot button topic “System Interoperability as a Strategic Imperative for your Hospital’s future”, lead by an iconic panel of speakers, examined the role of government, vendors and health providers to easily interact with EHR data .  Charles Jaffe, Chief Executive Officer of Health Level Seven (HL7) International, Jacob Reider, Chief Strategy Officer at Kyron, Inc. and David Whitlinger, Executive Director of the New York eHealth Collaborative shared their career aspirations in moving data beyond the interoperability hurdle. Topics covered included the HL7’s Consolidated-Clinical Document Architecture (C-CDA) for Meaningful Use Stage 2, the new FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) platform, and the SHIN-NY (Statewide Health Information Network of New York). Concluding this session was the question as to who should pay for interoperability and should the cost burden fall on the providers or patients. And based on the demand factor, it may be the Accountable Care Organizations who will drive interoperability in the future.

HealthIMPACT 2015 forums will be held in Houston, Texas on May 7, Santa Monica, California on June 10 and September 17 in Chicago, Illinois. Visit the HealthIMPACT website for more details.