HIMSS White Paper Examines Health IT’s Role in Creating Personalized Care, Healthy Populations 

By Genevieve Valek

As a consultant member of the HIMSS editorial team, Ray Valek interviewed field experts and produced the “Personalized Care, Healthy Populations” white paper. As described in its subtitle, the paper details four ways health information and technology is making patients healthier and happier. Using the “HIMSS Health IT Value™ Steps” framework of demonstrating health IT value, various clinics and care coordinators attest to improvements and enhancements in satisfaction among patients and providers, treatment and clinical performance, electronic health data and quality measures reporting, prevention and patient education, and savings.

Starting with engagement, a patient’s own “activation” or willingness and knowledge to manage his or her own health and care is one strategy used to achieve the “triple aim” of improved health outcomes, better care, and lower costs. To achieve healthier populations, clinicians and payers understand that patient engagement is vital. In today’s technology-driven society, mobile technologies augment whatever time clinicians and patients spend together in person; many patients are willing to use their devices for healthcare purposes, and healthcare organizations are increasingly happy to oblige.

Following a patient visit, data are recorded and used in much more efficient ways than ever before; today’s healthcare professionals have access to more data than at any time in history. Those who gather and interpret integrated data today continue to improve patient care and population health. Through using electronic health records (EHRs), mobile apps, and other systems, larger volumes of data are able to be analyzed with greater sophistication. A great benefit the healthcare field has seen in this data harvesting is the ability to use it to develop unique preventative health strategies for at-risk populations.

Gathering and analyzing data is the first step toward establishing care priorities and guiding treatment decisions, care management and care redesign. A case study on MetroHealth – which serves the Cleveland area – mentioned in the paper describes its use of standard EHR functions to extract and analyze data to better serve its community members with diabetes; diabetes is identified as a major chronic disease in the area affecting more than 10,000 adult patients for which MetroHealth provides primary care. MetroHealth’s work on this initiative contributed to its winning a HIMSS Davies Enterprise Award.

Finally, the paper highlights its fourth aspect, which is the ability to use health IT to improve clinical outcomes and qualify for incentive payments. Moving from fee-for-service to value-based accountable care models has been difficult for healthcare providers and clinicians. EHRs are being used to drive improvements in care outcome measures and to reduce care costs, resulting in a system that is more financially sustainable for payers and for the health system.

Read the entire white paper at http://www.himss.org/news/personalized-care-healthy-populations    

@ Valek & Company 2016