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LIVE FROM THE HCI EXECUTIVE SUMMIT: A Consensus on the Need for Collaboration to Implement the Coming "Revolution"

May 16, 2013
by Mark Hagland
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In a wide-ranging panel discussion among leaders from a variety of stakeholder groups, collaboration and standards became points of strong consensus

In a wide-ranging panel discussion that brought together leaders from a variety of stakeholder groups across healthcare—hospital organizations, physician practices, integrated health systems, organized healthcare, and vendor organizations—industry luminaries agreed on May 16, in the opening panel discussion of the Healthcare Informatics Executive Summit being held in San Francisco, on the urgent need for cross-stakeholder collaboration. The panel discussion followed immediately upon the opening keynote address by Russell Branzell, president and CEO of the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), and Branzell was a panelist. The coming healthcare “revolution” that Branzell had just spoken of was broadly cited by panelists during the discussion.

Joining HCI Editor-in-Chief Mark Hagland, in addition to Branzell, were Sam Van Norman, director of business intelligence at the Park Nicollet Health System (Minneapolis); Curtis Boehm, M.D., CMIO of Park Nicollet; Simon Jones, director of accountable care organization information technology and program strategy a the San Francisco-based Blue Shield of California; Mark Van Kooy, M.D., a senior consultant at the Denver-based Aspen Advisors consulting firm and a practicing primary care physician; and Steve Tolle, senior vice president of solutions management at the Chicago-based Merge healthcare.

Ranging across a very wide range of topics, the panelists time and time again found consensus on a core idea: that the leaders of all the stakeholder groups they represented, needed to collaborate in order to move the healthcare industry forward on such pressing needs as standards for data-sharing; the creation of consistently designed health information exchange (HIE) organizations; the need for providers and payers to actively and collaboratively share data for the purposes of care management and accountable care/population health management.

Among the thorny problems that all the panels agreed on were the reality that, going forward, hospital, medical group, and health plan leaders need to let go of the combativeness of past payer-provider relations and share claims and electronic health record (EHR)-based data with one another, to build accountable care organizations (ACOs) and improve care management. As Blue Shield’s Jones noted, “We in health plans need to agree that we can no longer withhold data from providers based on the fear that they will use that data against us.” And Park Nicollet’s Van Norman agreed, from his side of the table: “We also agree that providers need to ‘open the kimono’ some with health plans, in order to effectively perform population health management and accountable care.” Park Nicollet is participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program for accountable care as a “Pioneer” ACO.

One issue that came up over and over again was the need for all sorts of standards—data standards, standards for EHR and other clinical information systems on the part of vendors; and standards for the development of HIE organizations and data-sharing architectures.

CIOs and CMIOs will definitely be key players in all this; indeed, offered Blue Shield’s Simon Jones, more responsibility than ever will fall on CMIOs in provider organizations to help create both process and cultural change in healthcare.