Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Observations on Hillary Clinton’s Message to Health IT Industry at HIMSS 2014

By guest blogger Marc Wine

Throughout HIMSS14 Annual Conference and Exhibition in Orlando, FL (February 23-27, 2014), I observed numerous examples of health IT collaboration, open solutions, and innovation that will guide the healthcare industry toward transformation over the coming years. I attended several sessions by federal government agencies featuring open data solutions, open source software, health information sharing, evidence-based data used to improve quality of care, and demonstrations of systems aimed at consumer engagement.

I was struck by Hillary Clinton’s capstone speech at the conference that included her views about personal empowerment and the value of data needed to make more informed clinical decisions. My government experience working with clinicians in medical centers who were implementing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) open source VistA electronic health record (EHR) system, including their use of clinical decision support software, led me to tune in to many of Secretary Clinton’s points.

After praising the VA for the innovative way it used VistA to care for patients in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Clinton then expounded further on the following points. She told the HIMSS14 executives that technical specialists no longer focus solely on making patient data accessible to physicians, but must play a leading role in making sure the entire medical teams have access to data needed to yield new efficient and effective care. On the subject of empowering people around the globe, she told the the audience of health IT professionals, one of its great missions was to enable people to take more control over their own health care.

From some earlier roles that called for me to coordinate health IT guidance across federal, state, local and global governments, I learned first hand that resolving challenges using collaborative 'open' solutions will eventually lead to shared services and improved care for citizens, top priorities for public and private health services now leading the way in the nation’s healthcare industry.

My own work in the federal government, promoting uses of data on quality of care in healthcare and promoting collaboration, open solutions, and shared services, showed me the real way ahead for governments at all levels to better work together in the future. Further, my long experience in the VA working on 'open' health IT solutions like VistA and the Blue Button project substantiate many of Hillary Clinton's observations.

Clinton concluded by recounting her experience as Secretary of State, saying she learned we can solve many of our challenges by better workng together with a passionate commitment to improve the health and wellness for all people.

I applaud Hillary Clinton for her comments and along with many of my colleagues have resolved to continue to help transform healthcare in our country by pursuing new approaches better adapted to the 21st century - global collaboration, open solutions, and continuous innovation aimed at achieving improved quality care for all.

No comments: