Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend the event as a blogger and had hoped to return again today for round 2 and some additional insight.  I do have to say that the agenda is not at all like your normal convention and some of the imagebrightest and intellectual individuals in Health IT were an attendance.  I sat in on a few of the sessions to where Health IT was being discussed, telehealth for one area and much more to include ACOs(accountable care organizations  and PHRs (personal health records). In my estimation, this is not only collaboration but an event that also creates a “think tank” environment as well.  I’ll write more on the day later but in one group I posed the question of PHRs at Cedar Sinai to the CIO, Darren Dworkin as to how they relate and possibly work with the new HHS programs with the Blue Button offerings for patients to be able to get their information from the VA and Medicare. 

Cedar Sinai uses Epic Medical Records, which is the choice of many large imagehealthcare institutions today to include Kaiser Permanente.  Kaiser has a bit of an advantage too in the fact that they are a “closed” system, meaning that they are not working with multiple providers and contracts with insurers and this in my opinion adds another level for the CIOs to work with today by all means.  What is also interesting is the back end data base used by EPIC, which is the MUMPS system, the same used by the VA Vista medical records system with added customization and updates as time moves forward.  Last year I did an interview with Dr. James Leo on how Long Beach Memorial worked through their transition.   Another hospital CIO, Jimmy Weeks at Greenwich hospital in Connecticut is also at the front end of beginning their transition to  Epic as well. 

Long Beach Memorial Center’s Conversion to Electronic Medical Records – Interview with Dr. James Leo

If you want some further elaboration on this topic, back in December of 2009 Richard DeCarlo, chief operating officer, Miller Children’s Hospital gave me a tour of their new facility and how it all came together, and we candidly talked about how new technologies changed the direction of many of the plans several times during the building stage. He had one idea ready to move and then had to sometimes stop and revise to include breaking new technology that the IT crew had determined needed to be included, so plans changed accordingly and very quickly too. 

Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach – Brand New Pavilion Carries Focus on Patients and “Green”

He stated that they are in fact working to coordinate and share data in any way they can and where standards allow, but again, in talking about the data side, it’s a lot of work to coordinate and get things done right.  Granted, he added any patient showing up with credible medical record information at Cedars or any hospital is certainly a welcome chime to any ER doctor by all means.  Epic has the module available which Kaiser uses as My Chart and there is time and money involved into bringing each module into the the fold.  In the area of PHRs there has not been a huge interest, yet, with patients and I think this goes back to additional educational processes needed to create value for patients, so in other words, they “get” and understand what impact having a PHR adds to the care they receive, in other words the doctors are not having to start from scratch with all the medical history. 

Also in the news today too there was a quote about off shoring medical records and I think Mr. Dworkin made a good point here with his statement, as therimagee’s a ton of organizational information that needs to be done yet with standards here in the US and how can you entertain outsourcing until you have the full picture of what one would intend to gain.  Out sourcing drug and device technology is a completely different entity versus talking electronic medical records.  New devices and other technologies pop up every day making this process a bit of a moving target I feel, so to put together some type of business model to outsource, which of course also takes time, is almost beyond what any system could fathom right now.  

“Also, designing and installing new medical systems "is hard to do off site, let alone offshore," said Darren Dworkin, CIO of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.”

If nothing else from one day of attending, you get a huge appreciation for the amount of data, security, intelligence and just day to day clinical use that is facing the hospital CIO today, not to mention the new left curve we get from technology every day.  Payers and the obstacles and data considerations needed were mentioned in every forum so it’s right up there with bringing all the system together from the point of care to payment.  I sit and try to cover information on Health IT as being a former coder with some understanding of the processes and complexities that we are faced with today, but in my opinion, being a healthcare CIO at a hospital today is not only challenging, but a job that sometimes is perhaps underestimated with importance when politics enter the picture, but these folks are what make it work and put the puzzles together.

Again, in summary the panels were done very well and a sincere effort of collaboration and information sharing is certainly present here with nobody claiming to have all the answers, and the panels were able to explain and explore what has worked for them as well as being able to hear what various vendor systems have to offer from security to devices.   The answer panels consisted of both vendors and Health IT experts so when posing a question sometimes you heard from more than one focus, which I think is a good thing to better facilitate seeing the big picture.  BD

Best of all, the Health IT Summit is not a trade show or traditional conference but an intimate, upscale experience in a world-class venue. The unique agenda features a preview of the latest healthcare technologies, industry panels with healthcare luminaries, product demonstrations from leading vendors, and high-level content from researchers reporting on the healthcare industry. Attendees also have the ability to schedule one-on-one meetings with vendors and other delegates of their choice, and attend high-level networking events and receptions.


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