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eHealth Initiative ’2020 Roadmap’ panel needs consumers

This press release showed up my inbox on Tuesday:

eHealth Initiative Launches 2020 Roadmap Process

Framework to Change the Future of Nation’s Healthcare System

March 25, 2014, Washington, D.C. – The eHealth Initiative (eHI) announced the launch of the eHealth Initiative 2020 Roadmap, a public-private collaboration that will help guide the  transformation of the nation’s healthcare system by 2020. With the help and support of a  wide array of leading healthcare associations, organizations, and federal agencies, 2020 Roadmap will propose key policy recommendations to implement at a federal level and actions for the private sector to help transform healthcare.

“Health reform calls for transformation to a value-based interoperable system, but there is no direction on how to transition from our current work processes and systems. Clinicians, payers and providers are in dire need of leadership to help transform delivery systems and control cost,” said Jennifer Covich Bordenick, Chief Executive Officer of the eHealth Initiative. “The goal of our new initiative is to craft a multi-stakeholder solution that coordinates the efforts of both the public and private sector so that we can make this transition successfully.”

The 2020 Roadmap will be developed over the next six months through a series of surveys, webinars, executive roundtables, and events with key constituencies; the outcome will be a consensus on how to shape the future of our healthcare system.  Individuals are welcome to complete surveys, participate in upcoming events, and provide general feedback. A new survey is currently being fielded to gather information from the industry.

The 2020 Roadmap will focus on recommendations that:

•        Identify a sustainable glide path for meaningful use;

•        Promote interoperable systems;

•        Transform care delivery; and

•        Balance innovation and privacy.

Several advisors representing different stakeholders are leading the 2020 Roadmap activities, including:

·         John Glaser, PhD, Chief Executive Officer, Health Services, Siemens (representing vendors)

·         Sam Ho, MD, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, UnitedHealthcare, Chair eHI Board of Directors, (representing payers)

·         Christopher Ross, MD, Chief Information Officer, Mayo Clinic (representing providers)

·         Susan Turney, MD, Chief Executive Officer, Medical Group Management Association (representing clinicians)

·         Micky Tripathi, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer, Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative (representing information exchanges)

·         Joseph Touey, Senior Vice President, North American Pharmaceuticals, Information Technology, GlaxoSmithKline (representing pharmaceutical manufacturers)

“The impressive caliber of individuals leading our effort reflects the importance of the 2020 Roadmap,” said Jennifer Covich Bordenick. “We invite all organizations to participate in this important process and bring the best thinking to the table.”

Visit the 2020 Roadmap webpage for more information at http://www.ehidc.org/2020-roadmapMore information about the eHealth Initiative is available online at www.ehidc.org.

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About the eHealth Initiative: The eHealth Initiative (eHI) is a Washington D.C.-based, independent, non-profit organization whose mission is to drive improvements in the quality, safety, and efficiency of healthcare through information and information technology. eHI is the only national organization that represents all of the stakeholders in the healthcare industry. Working with its membership, eHI advocates for the use of health IT that is practical, sustainable and addresses stakeholder needs, particularly those of patients. www.ehidc.org .

What immediately jumped out at me was the list of advisors. I’m familiar with most of the names, and I am sure all are qualified to provide valuable input on how to promote interoperability and improve our nation’s broken healthcare infrastructure. But the notes on representation raise an important question: How come nobody is representing consumers?

It’s after hours as I read the press release and I post this commentary, but I’ve e-mailed the press contact to see if the eHealth Initiative has a good answer. I will report back as soon as I hear anything. In the meantime, consumer and patient advocacy groups should take Bordenick up on her offer to participate.

UPDATE, March 27, 11 am CDT: I’ve just received this response directly from Bordenick:

Please know that the news release just highlighted just a few of the individuals and groups that will be involved.  We absolutely welcome the representation and involvement of patient and advocacy groups, and any stakeholder groups who want to participate— that is one of the reasons we put the announcement out, and asked people to fill in contact info in the survey. We are at the very start of this process, so now is definitely the time to get engaged. We currently work with National Partnership for Women and Families, Center Democracy & Technology, American Cancer Society, and have just started work with Smart Patients, and many others. We expect all of these groups to continue working with us, and many others to join in the process.

So there you have it. As I said in the original post, consumers and patient advocacy groups should take Bordenick up on the offer. It sounds like she would appreciate it.

March 26, 2014 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

A dubious honor from Health Wonk Review

For the very first time, I captured the top spot on the biweekly Health Wonk Review blog carnival, this time hosted by Dr. Jaan Sidorov of the Disease Management Care Blog. Unfortunately, I had to endure my dad’s untimely death after a miserable hospital experience in order to write the piece in question. But if it brings more traffic to that post and, more importantly, more awareness of multiple system atrophy (MSA) and the problem of poorly coordinated care and broken processes in hospitals, I’ll take it.

Since you’re here primarily for health IT, I’ll point you to a couple of relevant items that Sidorov summarizes. In a post actually written back in February, Martin Gaynor, chairman of the Health Care Cost Institute, discusses the organization on the Wing of Zock (the name is explained here) blog. The institute is aggregating claims information from the likes of Aetna, Humana, Kaiser Permanente, UnitedHealthcare and CMS to provide researchers with rich data sets related to healthcare costs and utilization.

“At its most basic, HCCI was formed because a better understanding of health spending can improve the quality of care and save money. If we generate information that makes a difference, then we will be a success,” Gaynor says.

Also, consultant Joanna Relth makes it known on the Healthcare Talent Transformation blog that she is no fan of ICD-10. “I’m sure that the intent of making this massive change to the codes is to improve the accuracy of diagnosis coding so providers will bill more accurately and insurance companies will pay providers and insureds in a more timely fashion. Seriously?? Did anyone ask a learning professional about how large a list is reasonable and at what point does the number of data points become impossible to follow?” she wonders in what comes off a little as an anti-government screed.

But I prefer to end this post on a happy note. In the comment section, Relth links to a video from EHR vendor Nuesoft Technologies that parodies Jay-Z’s “99 Problems.” Enjoy.

May 25, 2012 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

Hyperbole doesn’t work in health IT

I’m still rather slammed with work, but I might as well take a few minutes to post on a Friday afternoon to call out someone else who’s pumping up the health IT hype beyond reasonable levels.

A publicist for UnitedHealth Group wanted me to attend yesterday and today’s New York eHealth Collaborative Digital Health Conference in New York City. Never mind the fact that I live in Chicago and the invite came in two days ago. To be fair, though, I was offered phone interviews. I declined based on the second paragraph in the e-mail:

This event is the first and only national summit dedicated specifically to advancing the role of health information technology (HIT). Hundreds of leading stakeholders and thought leaders from across the HIT space will gather under the same roof to discuss the latest technologies, achievements and challenges impacting the industry. HHS Chief Technology Officer Todd Park is the keynote speaker.

This is the first and only national summit dedicated specifically to advancing the role of health information technology, huh? Other than HIMSS, AHIMA, AMIA, AMDIS, CHIME, ANIA-CARING, iHT2, Health Connect Partners, HL7 and a few more, that is absolutely a true statement. Let’s not leave out the dearly departed TEPR, either.

I hope others didn’t fall for that ridiculous statement.

December 2, 2011 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

Anthelio to hire thousands in Michigan

Editor’s note: This was written for a national publication, but rejected because it was too localized. I have permission to post it here. Don’t get used to me writing a lot of news stories for this blog.

Healthcare business process services firm Anthelio Healthcare Solutions will open a “center of excellence” in or near Detroit, a move that could bring thousands of IT-related jobs to an economically depressed area. The Dallas-based company, formerly known as PHNS, also announced that it is working with community colleges across Michigan to develop and hire in-state talent.

“This is mostly about private industry stepping up,” Anthelio Chairman and CEO Richard S. Garnick said. “These are not part-time or short-term jobs,” Garnick said. He added that the company did not receive any government assistance or subsidies for this expansion.

“We want to create jobs for Americans and leverage our existing capabilities,” Garnick said.

The 50,000-square-foot center of excellence will serve as a “physical location that clusters skills and expertise,” Garnick explained. Anthelio has not chosen the actual site yet, but Garnick said the company has narrowed its options to two, one in Detroit proper and one in an unspecified suburb.

There will be some consolidation of services from Anthelio offices in Detroit and Flint, Mich., but most of the people working at the center of excellence will be new hires, Garnick said, and the company would keep the existing locations open. The two current Michigan offices help Anthelio support major clients McLaren Health Care Corp. in Flint, and Nashville, Tenn.-based Vanguard Health Systems, owner of Detroit Medical Center.

Garnick did not indicate exactly how many employees Anthelio was looking for, but said it was in the thousands. “We are hiring people as we speak,” Garnick said. He added that Anthelio will support tuition reimbursement for new employees who are completing health IT training in programs of three to six months at community colleges. Current Anthelio employees also are eligible for tuition assistance.

The company is looking for expertise in health information management, computer-assisted coding, business process improvement, and other back-end healthcare functions, according to the CEO. “We have a broad set of needs, he said.

Last week, Anthelio announced a partnership with speech recognition technology vendor MedQuist Holdings to improve clinical documentation for healthcare providers and promote computer-assisted coding. The Michigan center for excellence will handle some of this work, according to Garnick, as well as analytics-related activities with another Anthelio partner, OptumInsight, a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group that was formerly known as Ingenix.

Much of the ramp-up is intended to prepare clients for the October 2013 transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 coding. Garnick likened the change to the scope of preparations IT departments made for Y2K more than a decade ago, with one major difference. “It doesn’t end on Jan. 1, 2000,” Garnick noted. “This will be the new platform for reimbursement for healthcare.

October 14, 2011 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

UnitedHealth denies ‘widespread’ layoffs, despite Ingenix signals

(Updated, 3:15 p.m. CST) UnitedHealthcare is denying reports that the company is laying off hundreds of workers, including at data-mining subsidiary Ingenix. “There is nothing widespread,” according to a company spokesperson.

Nothing officially has been announced, but there have been reports that many workers were informed yesterday that their services would no longer been needed. The company spokesperson says that UnitedHealth and its subsidiaries have 75,000 employees worldwide, and that hirings and dismissals happen all the time.

The news of possible layoffs came from someone claiming to be a displaced Ingenix worker. Ingenix gave preliminary confirmation of a downsizing, but referred me to UnitedHealth for details. The UnitedHealth spokesperson would not discuss staffing levels at Ingenix or any other subsidiary companies.

United did release its 10-K annual report for 2008 yesterday and hinted that cutbacks were in the offing:

“The improvement in Ingenix revenues was due to continued growth in its health intelligence and contract research businesses as well as from business acquisitions. The decrease in earnings from operations and operating margin was primarily due to excess staffing costs during 2008 for certain research projects which were cancelled, as well as lower demand for certain consulting services due to the current economic environment” (page 38).

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that excess staffing costs due to contract cancellations often lead to job cuts, but draw your own conclusions.

February 13, 2009 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.