With all eyes focused on efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, it’s tempting to forget that, at the end of December, Congress passed a huge healthcare bill that still has a long way to go before it’s fully implemented.
With the recent passage of the “21 st Century Cures” initiative and focus on the ONC oversight rule, it is clear that the federal government wants to continue to promote and push interoperability as do we in the healthcare industry. Interoperability is essential for value-based care because having a complete patient record and just-in- time information provides an opportunity for more informed decision-making, a reduction in costs and higher-quality outcomes.
The transition to value-based care is pushing radiology beyond its traditional borders, and success in this new model is measured in better patient outcomes. In order to achieve those outcomes, radiologists and their colleagues in the hospital and referring community need broad access to both data and images. A more integrated, collaborative radiology workflow can connect both systems and people, which helps provide much-needed context for better patient care. Here are four characteristics of an integrated, value-based radiology workflow.
Will 2016 be the year of telehealth? Although Medicare reimburses for only a handful of telehealth codes mainly in rural areas, other payers, providers and government entities are swiftly moving forward.
Given how crucial accessible patient records are to helping improve outcomes and how patients often need to be seen at multiple facilities, it is important that radiologists and healthcare executives understand the potential for interoperability between systems using Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE®) standards. By participating in events such as the Image Sharing Showcase during RSNA© and the upcoming Interoperability Showcase at HIMSS16, McKesson and other vendors are showing how technology is helping break through the barriers to record sharing.
Imaging technology is quickly charting a path toward interoperability for the enterprise, allowing hospitals and patients to access clinical data and images in real time. This represents a new era for medical imaging solutions, but how can hospital executives manage these new resources?
Don Dennison, president/principle, Don K. Dennison Solutions, Inc., and director-at-large on the Board of Directors for the Society of Imaging Informatics in Medicine (SIIM), sought to answer this question at a recent McKesson event.
What’s the state of interoperability today? The answer clearly depends on who you ask and what you ask. When the Government Accountability Office (GAO) asked representatives from 18 health information exchange (HIE) initiatives, detailed in last month’s “Nonfederal Efforts to Help Achieve Health Information Interoperability” report, they described a variety of efforts they are undertaking to achieve or facilitate electronic health record (EHR) interoperability. The stakeholders involved concluded that to date, interoperability has remained limited and that changes to CMS’ Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs are needed because efforts to meet the programs’ current requirements divert resources and attention from other efforts to enable interoperability.
Suffice it to say, healthcare IT has evolved rapidly. If you asked me what I thought about health IT even five years ago, I probably would have responded negatively. One of my first experiences with it was 14 years ago, when Computerized Provider Order Entry (CPOE) was first introduced — and it killed me. As an OB/GYN who delivers babies on weekends, it was painful to see nurses and doctors interacting with computers more than patients. I was witnessing the loss of human contact and hadn’t yet connected how CPOE could improve care quality.
With the recent passage of the 21st Century Cures bill by the U.S. House of Representatives and a parallel initiative making its way through the Senate, healthcare interoperability continues to take center stage in our industry. And I couldn’t agree more that this is its rightful place. As a physician, I’ve seen firsthand the importance of having patient information immediately available at the time of treatment. The legislation – which includes mandates that systems be interoperable by the end of 2017 or face reimbursement penalties – is another move to push interoperability forward even faster.
Healthcare leaders consistently work to improve the quality of patient care. And with good reason — suboptimal care can lead to complications, longer hospital stays, higher readmissions and prolonged illness. Improving care not only helps prevent negative outcomes, but it also makes financial sense. For example, one study found that working to reduce patient harm during hospital stays resulted in savings of more than $4 billion in a three-year timeframe.