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What's hot at MGMA? (Not the weather!)

October 11, 2009
by kate
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It’s always hard to tell how successful a conference is going to be on day one — especially when that day is a Sunday in a city that’s hosting a big football game (the previously undefeated Denver Broncos hosted the New England Patriots). So far, attendance seems a bit sparse, but that could change.

Not surprisingly, the words “meaningful use” are being thrown around as much as the footballs at Invesco Field (home of the Broncos), and everywhere you look, someone with a button-down shirt bearing the name of a company logo wants to tell you how to get your hands on some of that stimulus money!

Another hot topic of conversation is the cold weather (it snowed yesterday), which MGMA is trying to offset by offering attendants free beer at the Microbrew reception. Great strategy.

As for my experience, so far I’ve had some very interesting meetings, one of which was with eClinicalWorks, a company that made a lot of waves with the Walmart/Sam’s Club deal. But the main topic at our meeting was a very interesting pilot project the company has with Children’s Hospital Boston.

Are you ready for another acronym? How about this one: PCHR, as in personally controlled health record. With this initiative, Children’s is looking to aggregate all clinical data — not just from the hospital, but from primary care physicians and pediatricians, into a single location. Unlike PHRs, which still haven’t taken off the way some thought they would, Childrens’ PCHR (powered by Indivo) is designed to give patients access to a “portable, secure digital copy of their health information” that combines patient-entered data with clinical data. The program was developed by the Childrens’ Hospital Informatics Program.

A few months ago, I spoke with Daniel Nigrin, M.D., CIO at Children’s Hospital Boston, for an article on how wireless technologies are impacting nursing (“Cutting the Cord”). During the interview, we talked about some of his organization’s plans, and he mentioned the PCHR, as well as MyChildrens.org, a portal that enables patient families to communicate with clinicians at the hospital, pay bills, update demographics and request appointments. He said something that really stuck with me: “Technology gives us an opportunity to improve upon the care that we deliver and to make our clinicians’ lives easier.”

Many organizations and vendors are talking the talk when it comes to solutions that can make clinicians’ lives easier and enable true interoperability among patients, physician practices and hospitals, but Children’s is walking the walk. If this initiative — which is scheduled to go live later this year — is successful, it could be a model for other organizations.

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