Strong Evidence of the Value of Health IT at #HIMSS16

Show Me the Evidence

Physicians are taught to evaluate the strength of the evidence when reviewing proposed changes in clinical practice. Perhaps it is due to this “show me the evidence” sensibility that physicians have been reluctant to accept the value proposition of EHRs without assurance of positive outcomes presented to them in a scientific fashion.

More than a little nudging was required to persuade the majority of physicians to adopt EHR systems. But, now that the results of the Meaningful Use incentive nudges have been realized in the form of widespread adoption of EHRs, even previously skeptical clinicians can relate to patient outcome success stories that are due to analysis based on EHR data.

Success stories are starting to outweigh negative rumblings about the costs and downsides of EHR systems and that shift was noticeable at HIMSS16. Just to be clear, I’m not saying that the current options for EHR software are anywhere near perfect in basic functionality and user experience. Still, the fact that the majority of providers now have a basic EHR system in place allows the industry to move ahead and build upon the base of data recording & reporting that has been established through widespread adoption of core health IT systems.

One of the outstanding education sessions I attended at HIMSS16, CIOs and CMIOs from the Cleveland Clinic and from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, provided evidence of how data warehouses and clinical dashboards are helping to surface data at the point where clinical decisions need to be made. Furthermore, as business and clinical decisions increasingly become intertwined in a value-based payment system, the panelists emphasized that solutions that allow for piecing together data from medical records and financial systems will be necessary to support patient-centered decisions. Cleveland Clinic’s CMIO Louis Capponi gave the example of bundled payments where providers will need a better understanding of what clinical changes will maximize value for patients throughout the care episode.

Recognizing and Accepting the Value of Health IT

Over the years, I’ve heard many stories of how once-resistant physicians learned to love comparative metrics when those metrics made them look good relative to other physicians. The same competitive spirit holds true at the provider level and data from HIMSS Analytics LOGICÔ is incredibly useful to illustrate that one’s facility leads or lags in adopting and leveraging health IT.

With the new Value Score, HIMSS Analytics extends its comparative metrics to include a progressive model for quantifying the clinical and business value of a healthcare provider’s investment in health IT. The value score assesses adoption, perceived value, recognized value and innovation in using health IT. See my earlier article, HIMSS Analytics LOGIC: Health IT Market Intelligence for a Value-Based World for more information.

HIMSS16 Highlights

The focus on the value of women in health IT was a major highlight for me. Although I missed some of the special sessions and events on this theme, I was very pleased to take part in the #HealthITChicks meetup. With a stellar panel hosted by Jenn Dennard and a standing-room only audience of women and men, I had my moment in the spotlight when I stepped up to make a comment wearing my wonder woman socks. Thanks to Mandi Bishop for capturing a shot of me with Jenn at the meetup here:

Maturity Doesn’t Mean We Can’t Have Fun, Too!

The theme for my coverage of HIMSS16 has been the impact of a maturing health IT market. HIMSS Media coined me a “Health IT Maturity Champion” after I submitted that article. To dispel the image of me as a dowdy “maturity champion,” I’d like to emphasize that HIMSS is not just a conference; it encompasses education sessions, keynote addresses, exhibit hall demonstrations, and social events.

The social aspect of the annual HIMSS conference is in fact the biggest draw. Everyone knows it will be an exhausting few days (or more), but there is no other place where we know that we’ll have a chance to meet up with almost anyone who is involved in health IT. The Social Media Ambassadors group represents some of my closest long-time social media friends and I’d like to thank HIMSS for including me in this program. Gathering the tribe each year to share experiences is invaluable (continuing the ‘value’ theme) and I look forward to congregating again next year in Orlando.

Share your health IT value story using the #HITworks hashtag on Facebook and Twitter. 


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