eHealth Initiative announced that leaders from across the healthcare sector have committed to working together to resolve some of the most difficult challenges facing the industry, including interoperability, adoption of value-based care, data access and patient privacy. As part of eHI’s 2020 Roadmap project, groups including United Healthcare, American Medical Association, Mayo Clinic, Siemens and Cerner are working together to drive a private sector solution to these vexing issues, working with the federal government in an effort to drive improved health care delivery systems and better patient outcomes.
eHealth Initiative Chief Executive Office Jennifer Covich Bordenick says interoperability is the top priority. “Patients and providers have been frustrated by the interoperability issue. We all recognize that the federal government has a role to play here, but now is the time for the private sector to step forward and lead the effort. The industry leaders from across the healthcare sector who have joined our effort send a powerful message that this is a serious and substantive initiative unlike any other,” said Covich. “In 2015, we will begin pulling all the pieces together and sharing those pieces with the federal government to truly begin to solve these issues and improve care.”
Karen DeSalvo, MD, MPH, MSc, ONC National Coordinator and recently appointed Acting Assistant Secretary of Health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), said, “We look forward to reviewing the findings from eHealth Initiative. We appreciate all efforts from the private sector that support technology policy for our nation. We look forward to working with eHealth Initiative on a shared agenda for health information technology.”
eHI and its partners are recommending actions including:
- Driving industry-wide consensus on a framework to measure and track current and future interoperability levels.
- Working with federal agencies to ensure requirements support interoperability and continue building towards the goals of better patient outcomes and a more efficient health care system.
- Leading a national effort to help identify best practices in payer, provider and consumer organizations to utilize ehealth tools, including telemedicine, mhealth, and consumer apps.
- Coordinating with trade associations and professional societies to develop a toolkit of resources to help clinicians engage with their patients in a more robust manner.
- Working with federal agencies to identify minimum data requirements for facilitating population health management.
- Working with vendors to harmonize consumer applications to increase adoption and patient engagement.
- Gathering and providing consumer and provider recommendations to technology vendors to aid in the development of interoperable tools and applications to promote preventive care and engage patients in their care during their daily lives.
- Creating a private sector process for standards development and testing to ensure that data follows the patient and provider for clinical and health purposes.
- Defining nationwide interoperability in terms of the interoperability functions that should be universally available, such as automation of key exchange processes.
Most of the recommendations are focused on the role of the private sector. “The private sector needs to put their foot on the gas pedal. Payers and providers know the direction we need to go. eHealth Initiative is truly playing a leadership role by catalyzing the industry. The 2020 Roadmap helps bring us all together and coordinates efforts,” said Sam Ho, MD, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, UnitedHealthcare, and Chair of eHealth Initiative Board of Directors.
The 2020 Roadmap recommendations are unique in that eHealth Initiative is the only nonprofit organization that has garnered the support of stakeholders from every sector of healthcare: payers, providers, vendors, labs and other experts. “Physicians have been facing challenges with electronic health records (EHRs) that are not interoperable for quite some time, as evidenced in an AMA/RAND Corporation study released last year. Coordination and cooperation among multiple stakeholder groups across the healthcare system and government are needed to improve the usability of EHRs and to make the Meaningful Use program more meaningful. The American Medical Association (AMA) is committed to improving care for our patients and believes eHI’s 2020 Roadmap provides a pathway to achieving that goal,” Steven J. Stack, MD, AMA president-elect.
“It is critical we provide incentives across the continuum. The 2020 Roadmap creates a framework to deal with many of those issues. As a neutral, multi-stakeholder organization, eHealth Initiative should lead these conversations,” says John Glaser, PhD, Chief Executive Officer, Health Services, Siemens. “This isn’t something the government can do alone. We can make tremendous changes through market levers.”
“Providers are struggling with current programs,” says Susan L. Turney, MD, Chief Executive Officer, Marshfield Clinic Health System. “As a leading health system, Marshfield Clinic stands behind the 2020 Roadmap. We know it is focused on finding solutions that will support providers and patients.”
As part of the 2020 Roadmap effort, PwC Health Research Institute interviewed dozens of executives for an upcoming report involved in the effort to help scope out what healthcare delivery will look like in 5 years. “Through our research at PwC we found that it is critical to understand what motivates both caregivers and consumers to adopt and continue to use digital technology. It is critical for sustainability,” said Daniel T. Garrett, Principal and Health Information Technology Practice Leader, PwC. “The 2020 Roadmap provides recommendations to help executives understand business and clinical motivators and point companies in the right direction.”
More information about eHealth Initiative is available online at www.ehidc.org.
The following organizations supported some of the development of the 2020 Roadmap: Accenture, Availity, Booz Allen, Healthcore, Mayo Clinic, Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), PwC, Siemens, Texas Health Resources and United Healthcare.
About the eHealth Initiative: eHealth Initiative (eHI) is a Washington D.C.-based, independent, non-profit organization whose mission is to drive improvements in the quality, safety, and efficiency of healthcare through information and information technology. eHI is the only national organization that represents all of the stakeholders in the healthcare industry. Working with its membership, eHI advocates for the use of health IT that is practical, sustainable and addresses stakeholder needs, particularly those of patients. www.ehidc.org .