Last year, I had the opportunity to participate in a unique educational program for public health leaders through the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) at George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services. I jumped at the opportunity to study such a dynamic part of the industry, knowing how quickly and drastically changes are happening. The program has given me the core background essential to understanding the intersection of healthcare and technology, which involves health policy, security, privacy, meaningful use, electronic health records and more. I also have had the opportunity to meet and learn from many experts in the field, many of whom will be attending the Health 2.0 Conference this week in San Francisco.
Here are the top things that I learned from my time in the HIT program that are relevant for anyone working in healthcare:
- The cost of healthcare is not sustainable; we need to make better decisions, need more information from the point of care
- Meaningful Use Stage 1 put us on the up ramp; healthcare organizations are not doing meaningful use for money, but for improvement in patient care
- Technology accelerates advancements in healthcare, but has to be done right at the right time
- Only until we start engaging the patient will we see a difference in healthcare
- Patients are ready for the new era of healthcare, physicians are starting to hear things like “it’s in my chart” or “can’t you just scan me”
- While connected care is critical, as physicians share charts and health information exchange exists, more competition will transpire to keep and maintain patients
- There are still a lot of skeptics regarding electronic health records, so the benefits need to be continuously reinforced and issues managed and proactively communicated (e.g., backup plans for security breaches, power outages)
- Consolidations, mergers and partnerships will occur: smaller healthcare groups will align with larger ones because of the high capital investments associated with reform and the approximately 16,000 EHR vendors will merge toward the end of next year to about 12,000
- Analytics, including physician benchmarking, is leading the evolution of value based medicine
- Healthcare organizations must be nimble and flexible given new, fluid and dynamic marketplace
I have also experienced the healthcare revolution firsthand through working with our clients here at WCG. We work with some of the top leaders of innovation in the industry, innovating and enabling change every day via their wireless health solutions, mobile health and fitness apps, care collaboration networks and more. As a testament to the vast changes in the healthcare industry and necessity to innovate in order to stay relevant, WCG has since launched a new specialized practice, Healthcare Technology & Transformation, to help us guide our clients in the ever-changing healthcare industry. Focused on all aspects of healthcare technology, our integrated approach allows us to utilize all areas of the communications spectrum from traditional public relations to strategic influencer identification and analysis.
This week at Health 2.0, follow the conversation via #health2con. I’ll be there meeting and greeting with old and new friends, listening to esteemed speakers talk about groundbreaking topics and watching the latest product demos. It’s bound to be an exciting conference.