Sunday, September 18, 2011

HIT Showcase Draws a Crowd

The Technology Showcase and panel discussion on September 12, 2011 held during HIT week was declared a huge success by a packed room filled with attendees and exhibitors. The Capitol Hill “Steering Committee on Telehealth and Healthcare Informatics” each year devotes a day during HIT week to highlight the progress, problems, and future steps needed to deliver better and more effective healthcare.

Introducing Honorary Co-Chair Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, and a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, Neal Neuberger, Executive Director for the Institute for e-Health Policy, expressed appreciation for the Senator’s leadership in forming the Senate’s Steering Committee on Telehealth in1993 and raising awareness about telehealth. Senator Conrad will be leaving the Senate at the end of his term of office.

In appreciation, Neuberger presented the Senator with a legislative leadership award from HIMSS to thank the Senator for all of his past and ongoing efforts to improve the quality and efficiency of rural healthcare. HIMSS applauds Senator Conrad’s efforts to greatly broaden the use of telehealth and health information technologies.

In another important announcement, Paul McRae, Vice President for Public Sector and Healthcare at AT&T announced that the HHS Office of Minority Health, the American Association of Diabetes Educators (ADDE), and AT&T are working together to evaluate the use of mobile devices to deliver Diabetes Self-Management Training (DSMT) within an underserved minority community in Dallas, Texas.

AT&T is contributing $100,000 to the AADE to fund the study and will provide approximately 150 smart phones with voice and data plans for the patients, diabetes educators, and other education personal.

McRae introduced Rochelle Rollins PhD, Director for the Division of Policy and Data at the Office of Minority Health (OMH), so that she could accept an award for Garth N. Graham M.D. the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health for all the work that OMH is doing to extend the use of Health IT into underserved minority communities.

The Technology Showcase featuring a panel discussion centered on the essential use of health IT to improve patient safety and quality, was moderated by Justin T. Barnes, Vice President of Marketing, Industry and Government Affairs, Greenway Medical Technologies, Inc.

From the federal government perspective, Geoffrey Gerhardt, Senior Advisor to the National Coordinator for HIT was happy to announce that ONC has launched the new website to provide resources to patients and providers who may have little experience with health IT. He also announced that the revised “Federal Health IT Strategic Plan 2011-2015 has been released after receiving 240 public feedback responses on the first draft.

Gerhardt was pleased to announce that the “meaningful use” program is doing well and so far has made $400 million in incentive payments with 70,000 registered, the e-prescribing program now has about 250,000 users, 62 regional extensions centers are in operation, 3,000 students have graduated from the workforce program, and 56 states are moving to implement HIEs to fill in the connectivity gaps.

Neal Neuberger stressed the important role that data plays in further developing the health technology field. Michael J. Ackerman PhD, Associate Director of the National Library of Medicine (NLM) agreed that technology drives telehealth development by helping researchers and the public find needed information resources.

Dr. Ackerman pointed out that NLM offers the largest collection of online health information through MEDLINE and MEDLINE plus, NLM provides access to over 20,000 journals and provides the NLM Personal Health Record a web-based tool to help consumers track their own health information.

Also, the National Center for Biotechnology Information NCBI) within NLM is a national resource for molecular biology information established to help the research and medical community use the databases and software that NCBI has made available

As Ackerman explained, NLM’s Disaster Information Management Research Center created to aid in disaster management efforts, provides credible and timely information to help government agencies, private organizations, and local communities plan, prepare, respond and recover from disasters and other public health emergencies

Some of the emergency response tools available include the “Radiation Emergency Medical Management” (REMM) system in place in case mass casualty radiological nuclear events take place. The “Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders” (WISER) is also in place to help emergency responders identify and respond to hazardous materials incidents.

Hank Fanberg, Director, Technology Advocacy for CHRISTUS Health which covers 375 care delivery sites across eight states and Mexico, said “Patient safety and quality is paramount in the CHRISTUS Health culture and we are committed to providing high quality healthcare through innovation and by monitoring the quality of care. This is being accomplished by measuring patient satisfaction and then publishing this data to foster a culture of transparency.”

Athenahealth doing usability testing and obtaining feedback from practitioners, has produced an overwhelming amount of information on how best to achieve patient safety according to Lauren Zack, Director of Usability at Athenahealth. She is currently building the usability team at Athenahealth and wants to see improved usability of EHR products that will result in safer and better quality care.

Anthony Amofah, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Community Health of South Florida and Medical Director of the Health Choice Network is proud that the Network provides technology solutions for Community Health Centers by using a state-of-the art system to capture and analyze data that greatly improves the quality and access to care for all patients in the system.

“George Washington University Hospital strives to provide the right information to the right patient at the right time so that false positives and negatives do not occur with the result that patients are receiving safer and more efficient care,” reports Gretchen Tegethoff, GW’s Chief Information Officer. “Also, the Hospital is participating in the D.C. RHIO where an online computer information system is helping not only hospitals but local healthcare providers, health center clinicians, and case users”

“MedRed has integrated their “Balto” clinical decision support technology with their large-scale EMR system to help doctors and patients wherever and whenever needed”, said Ali Qureshi, MedRed’s Chief Operating Officer. Central to the system is a PC-based system capable of automatically generating plug-and-play modules to provide decision support. In addition, MedRed’s “Balto Mobile” provides emergency first responder medical decision support in a hand-held device.

In another project, Med Red is working with DOD to expand their “MedRed Chart” application at Walter Reed Army and Bethesda National Navel Medical Centers to help manage the prevalent and serious cases of TBI that the VA and DOD are now treating.

To address the needs of patients receiving home health care, long term care and rehabilitation, Dan Cobb, Chief Technology Officer at HealthMEDX, Inc, said, “We are at the forefront in developing appropriate software to handle the records needed for each patient. The greatest time for high risk is when the patient is admitted to the hospital or moving from one care setting to another. This is where health IT and EHRs can play an important role to make it possible to have each patient’s medical records electronically available 24/7.”

The lunch briefing and demonstrations were coordinated by HIMSS and the Institute for e-Health Policy.

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