What’s This About Colorado?

This past November, the state of Colorado released Colorado’s Health IT Roadmap that addresses healthcare challenges impacting all Coloradans. Its 16 key initiatives were developed after 16 months of planning and surveying 1,000 stakeholders representing providers, payers and patients of all ages, served in both urban and rural communities. Recently, I met with Mary Anne Leach, Director of the Office of eHealth Innovation Office of the Governor, and Carrie Paykoc, State HIT Coordinator - also known as the two women who drove this roadmap home. The Roadmap is intended to guide the state over the next three to five years and is expected to influence strategic planning efforts of private and public healthcare and health IT businesses.

So what is so unique about this roadmap that merits my sharing and your reading?

• As a proud resident of Colorado, I feel compelled to bring awareness to our state’s Health IT Roadmap, in hopes that other states will follow and learn from their approach.

• My understanding of advocacy has expanded as a result of my involvement;I think yours can too.

• The Colorado Health IT Roadmap dovetails with many of the HIMSS 2017 Congressional Asks.

• I have come to believe that the achievement of true value-based care that benefits all stakeholders requires change at so many levels that only an approach that is transparent, comprehensive, coordinated, and government funded can succeed.

Colorado healthcare goals: becoming the healthiest state

In 2013, Governor John Hickenlooper announced in his annual report, The State of Health, that “Our goal is for Colorado to become the healthiest state in the nation.” Thank you, Governor Hickenlooper for recognizing the critical role that healthcare IT plans in that effort. And thank you, Vermont and Arizona, for modeling the vision and paving the way with health IT roadmaps of your own.

Mary Anne, Director of the Office of eHealth Innovation Office of the Governor remarked that her team was blessed with a unique governance structure which consists of a diversely representative eHealth Commission established to steer the roadmap and a reporting structure that reaches directly up to the governor’s office. Furthermore, Mosaica Partners’ expertise and methodology really helped to structure and deliver the Roadmap considering her two-person team. Finally, she added that “Colorado has a collaborative healthcare community across the state. So much so that 25% of the 1,000 stakeholders surveyed asked what more they could do.”

Being a health IT advocate doesn’t mean you have to march

HIMSS offered chapter advocacy training this summer at the HIMSS Innovation Center. Admittedly, my interest and knowledge of state advocacy was limited at the time of my attendance, but by the end of the two-day program I was changed. No, seriously. Politics can be exclusive and uncomfortable but policy –now that’s something you can impact.

I left Cleveland feeling inspired - and frankly, personally accountable as the Colorado HIMSS (CHIMSS) Advocacy Chair - to move the needle in the State of Colorado when it came to all things health IT. Fortunately for me, my chapter supported my plan for the year and, even luckier, the Office of eHealth Innovation was well on its way to developing the roadmap of roadmaps.

After Cleveland, I believed my role as CHIMSS Advocacy Chair was to pick a legislative bill, do all I could to bring awareness to the cause, host an Advocacy Day at the Capitol, celebrate the bill’s passage and hand the baton to my Chair-elect for it to all be repeated next year. But this Roadmap stopped me; its statement has logical teeth. And it drives towards a fantastic goal.

I asked Mary Anne and Carrie how CHIMSS could support their endeavor and it was clear: Get the word out. Put the Roadmap into as many hands as possible. Interweave its initiatives into our programming. Provide continuous feedback. Yep, I thought to myself, this is something we can easily get behind and promote. Our membership will need to work together, though - only then can our state’s extended health system moves more like a school of fish and less like predators and prey. Today is the day to do our part.

Visit the Office of eHealth Innovation or contact to learn more or get involved.

How the Colorado health IT roadmap aligns with HIMSS

Like the HIMSS 2017 Congressional Asks, the Health IT Roadmap addresses the significance of cybersecurity and health IT governance at a higher level, the importance of telehealth options for all populations, and the criticality of having broadband infrastructure so all citizens can level the incredible technologies come of age. These commonalities represent a clear need across our country as well as in our state.

Similarly, the Roadmap and its initiatives dig deeply into what is not working. For example, over two years ago, Colorado progressively passed a telehealth bill that removed population and in-person care delivery restrictions while requiring insurance companies to reimburse the care providers that offer telehealth services. Unfortunately, broadband, provider adoption, and equitable reimbursement have not followed suit. Consequently, telehealth, or virtual access, is an important Initiative.

See the completed list of Initiatives on pp. 30-31 of the Roadmap.

This is no ordinary government plan or group of people

The following principles were developed and adopted by the Roadmap’s Core Team and Steering Committee Office to guide and inform the Roadmap development process. They are committed to

• supporting Colorado’s healthcare transformation efforts; • using an open and transparent process;

• ensuring broad stakeholder participation, support, and acceptance; • including broad geographic and demographic considerations; • Leveraging existing capabilities, where possible;

• executing initiatives that are achievable, actionable and practical;

• focusing on the “whole person”— not just the “patient”.

By all measures and a lot of gut feel on my end, I don’t expect these tenets to disappear now that the plan has been documented.

Keep an eye on Colorado, folks. This will be one state to watch.

Read the Colorado Health IT Roadmap in its entirety here.