2017 – Our prediction for the year of data standards, security, and truth

Feb. 1, 2017
Kristine Russell, Executive Editor

As an editor, I have the opportunity to attend a large number of association conferences and meetings that cover many medical disciplines. Whether it’s a group of infection preventionists trying to track their patients’ disease states, laboratorians striving to do the most accurate tests, a physician practice trying to access their hospital affiliates’ EMR system, or IT directors dealing with HIPAA compliance rules and data security (the list could go on), they all had one common concern at the end of 2016:

What’s going to happen now with the state of healthcare in the United States?

HMT asked a number of savvy suppliers to offer their 2017 predictions for healthcare delivery solutions that address current needs as well as potential future adjustments. Their exciting ideas in this time of big changes assure us that delivering healthcare more effectively is not only doable but well within sight. (See “HIT in 2017 and for the long haul.”)

Our prediction: Healthcare professionals realize that it doesn’t matter who is in the White House or whether politicians threaten to unravel established systems. At the end of the day, they recognize that healthcare is one of the most important basic needs that matters to all families, regardless of economic status. And to cover that need and fulfill that principle, the professionals that are already helping deliver that care will continue to deliver it—and do it well.

For a number of years now, we’ve all been working on standard practices, trying to keep up with new CMS reporting requirements, new ICD-10 codes, and next-generation systems to get reimbursed. It all boils down to processes that can help clinicians deliver healthcare cost effectively, that use tools that increase human efficiency and also help us overcome our shortcomings.

Have we been focusing on the wrong problems? Why does it seem that we aren’t getting to the true data to get the true answers?

The old computer phrase “GIGO” comes to mind: Garbage In Garbage Out. That is pretty much where many healthcare systems are stuck. Some are in that position due to uncertainty, others due to funding, and most, well, both.

There are tools that have been developed to help get at the data quality. For example, why haven’t hospitals embraced the Unique Device Identification (UDI) information into their EMRs and revenue cycle platforms? The use of UDI could and will be the backbone of the clean data we are striving to capture. One of our predictions is that more information on successful UDI implementation will be disseminated by some progressive healthcare systems that will show how the integration of this information and the use of data standards will be integral to our population health initiatives. And all of this will, in part, help us achieve value-based healthcare.

How can we track the costs, the outcomes, and patient satisfaction to know if we’ve been successful?

We talk about precision medicine. But, without focusing on the proper implementation of technology that can deliver individualized treatment and track results, we won’t know if we are successful.

When all is said and done, change is real and inevitable. We all have to work together—and so do our systems. We predict that healthcare delivery networks will fully adopt the Interoperability Pledge and commit to systems that deliver consumer access so their patients can participate in and understand their personal care. With these same systems in place, we will be able to share and analyze the costs, quality, and outcomes transparently and securely. With this information, we can fulfill that pledge to “implement federally recognized, national interoperability standards, policies, guidance, and practices for electronic health information, and adopt best practices including those related to privacy and security.”

If you are at HIMSS, we look forward to meeting you in the Health Management Technology Booth 1635.

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