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From the Lens of a CIO: Moving Forward on Value-Based Care Efforts Without a Roadmap (Part 1)

July 12, 2016
by Heather Landi
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This past April, 14 CIOs from leading healthcare organizations convened at the Scottsdale Institute’s Spring CIO Summit in Arizona to discuss the most important health IT-related challenges facing CIOs and to share insights on key IT-enabled strategies for value-based care.

Driven by the accelerating trend toward alternative payment models that reward quality of care rather than volume of services rendered, many of the organizations represented at the Scottsdale Institute CIO Summit have been preparing for value-based care with the development of clinically integrated networks for some time, while others are just getting started. Last year’s passage of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), which rapidly accelerates the transition to value-based payments, has especially spurred health systems to optimize and expand their clinically integrated networks, which presents CIOs with a number of IT challenges.

The Summit was hosted by the Scottsdale Institute, a Minn.-based not-for-profit membership organization of health systems advanced in IT, and sponsored by Impact Advisors, a Naperville, Ill.-based healthcare IT consultancy and moderated by Ralph Wakerly of Minneapolis-based consultancy C-Suite Resources. Insights from the discussions at the spring CIO Summit are outlined in the report, “Creating Clinically Integrated Networks: Challenges, Successes, Lessons Learned.” The group identified several lessons learned to be successful in a value-based environment, including the need for CIOs to be willing to make strategic decisions and learn quickly from their mistakes, the importance of data analytics, how to manage the complexity of new partnerships and the need for collaborative leadership moving forward.

Following the Summit, Healthcare Informatics Assistant Editor Heather Landi spoke with two CIOs who were in attendance—George Conklin, Senior VP and CIO at the Irving, Texas-based Christus Health, a 60-hospital integrated healthcare delivery system, and Mary Alice Annecharico, Senior VP and CIO at Henry Ford Health System, a five-hospital health system based in Detroit—as well as Tonya Edwards, M.D., physician executive at Impact Advisors. In Part 1 of this story, Healthcare Informatics provides an inside look at building clinically integrated networks from the lens of CIOs and the challenges they face. Below are excerpts of those discussions with Conklin, Annecharico and Edwards.

What was the general mood of the CIOs involved in the discussions at the CIO Summit?

Edwards: There was a lot of energy and a sense of excitement about what the future holds, but also some nervousness about what the future holds, because so much is changing so very rapidly. Leaders from several organizations actually pointed out that there really is no roadmap. They are trying to make decisions quickly, be nimble and move forward on a path, but not knowing necessarily if the path they are going down is the right path. That said, there was a lot of excitement about being able to do some new things that could help drive health systems forward much faster, particularly around the area of analytics.

Conklin: Concerned, with a lot of focus around security, but also there was a sense of, How can we work together better to help protect all of us?

Cybersecurity wasn’t one of the key findings in the report from the CIO Summit, but it sounds as if it was discussed, so what were some of the takeaways from those discussions?

Annecharico: [Cybersecurity] was peppered throughout the conversations that we were having throughout the entire conference. It is a growing burden for our organizations to be able to keep the bad actors out and to manage our responsibilities at the federal level with managing the privacy and security of our data.

Mary Alice Annecharico

Conklin: Everybody is as focused as we are on it and there is a keen amount of interest. There was a concern relative to our ability to be able to respond effectively to all of the different evolving kinds of attacks that are occurring out there. There is a lot more cooperation amongst us, and evolving new ways of communicating when one of us sees something or is attacked by something, and communicating it out to other group members, and even enlisting each other to help in the event of an attack.

The CIO Summit specifically focused on the IT challenges of developing clinical integrated networks. Why is this a crucial time for healthcare organizations to build or expand their clinically integrated networks?