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National meeting to highlight Colorado Beacon’s success Patrick Gordon to share CBC’s past, present and future at May 22 meeting in D.C.

Grand Junction, Colo., May 15, 2013-The success of the Colorado Beacon Consortium (CBC) represents one leg of an ongoing journey–a journey that began before the three-year Beacon project and will continue well into the future. CBC Director Patrick Gordon will deliver this message to a national audience during a May 22, 2013 meeting, “The Beacon Community Experience: Illuminating the Path Forward–Lessons from the field.”

At this event, sponsored by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), Gordon will share lessons learned; specifically, he will talk about how local leadership within the community leveraged technology infrastructure to move toward better value in health care.

Joining Gordon on the stage will be the following thought leaders:

Farzad Mostashari, MD, ScM, National Coordinator for Health IT.
Carol Beasley, MPPM, vice president, business development, Institute for Healthcare Improvement
Asaf Bitton, MD, MPH, FACP, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School Center for Primary Care
Susan Dentzer,senior policy advisor at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and health policy analyst, PBS NewsHour
Mark McClellan, MD, PhD, director, Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform; senior fellow, Brookings Institution

Gordon will provide the “boots-on-the-ground” perspective, describing how Western Colorado is moving toward establishment of an accountable community in which health care providers adopt advanced practice-based tools and develop new skills that allow them to account for the health of the community as a whole and fundamentally change the ways they practice medicine.

Addressing past, present and future experience in Colorado, Gordon will explain how the Beacon work has helped build a bridge to population health accountability, payment reform and patient activation–within a single strategy.

“Resources developed during the Beacon demonstration–including the health information infrastructure, workforce development for practice transformation, data collection and measurement–provide ongoing support as care teams work to redesign physician practices. Beacon helped us build a more effective framework for whole-person care,” he explained.

CBC’s practice transformation resources support the deployment of tools and the development of skills required to deliver comprehensive primary care. This, in turn, creates a viable foundation for value-based payment and accountability for the total cost of care. CBC’s approach has emphasized person-centered care, patient self-management and integration of behavioral health.

CBC’s 2012 annual report and accompanying video describe how CBC fosters better health by meaningfully using health IT to transform care delivery.

CBC has earned national recognition for its efforts on several fronts. It received a Healthcare Informatics Innovator Award, and a profile appeared in the February 2013 Healthcare Informatics. In addition, The Commonwealth Fund recently released a case study describing how CBC managed to build the capacity needed to exchange health data and transform clinical care, and how CBC uses health IT for quality improvement.

The ONC meeting will be videocast; the link is available here. For more information about this videocast or the Beacon Community Program, please contact the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT at http://www.healthit.gov/newsroom/contact-us.

About the Colorado Beacon Consortium

The Colorado Beacon Consortium is made up of executive-level representation from four mission-driven, not-for-profit, Western Colorado-based organizations, all of which have nationally acknowledged track records of coordination to achieve superior outcomes. They are Mesa County Independent Physicians’ Practice Association, Quality Health Network, Rocky Mountain Health Plans and St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center. The Colorado Beacon Consortium’s mission is to optimize the efficiency, quality and performance of our health care system, and integrate the delivery of care and use of clinical information to improve community health. The geographic focus of the Consortium’s activities includes the Colorado counties of Mesa, Delta, Montrose, Garfield, Gunnison, Pitkin and Rio Blanco. To learn more, visit www.coloradobeaconconsortium.org.

June 3, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

NCQA to Test Pioneering Way to Measure Quality, Foster Wider Use of Prevention Strategies

Effort Aimed at Reducing Patients’ Risk of Heart Disease and Stroke

Uses Patient Data to Evaluate Method for Measuring Health Outcomes

Washington, D.C. – The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) today announced a new approach to measuring quality that will provide a more sensitive gauge of risk factors and make it possible to create clinically meaningful incentives for providers to improve disease prevention.

Under a grant from RWJF, NCQA will evaluate a new measurement tool that focuses on improving the health outcomes of patients with heart disease and diabetes. The “Global Cardiovascular Risk” (GCVR) score, which is being co-developed by NCQA and Archimedes, Inc., is the “next generation” quality improvement tool that measures how well providers reduce the risk of future adverse outcomes – such as heart attacks, strokes, and diabetic complications – in the populations they serve. GCVR is also a powerful new use of electronic health records (EHRs), drawing upon clinical information from EHRs to provide the data needed to assess improvement in preventing bad outcomes.

“This new tool has the potential to become the first customized, outcomes-based electronic health record measure used by Medicare and commercial payers,” says NCQA President  Margaret E. O’Kane. “Its widespread adoption could have a profound impact on health care costs because it assesses how well providers engage in prevention and goal-setting for their high-risk patients. We believe it could become the new gold standard of quality measurement, replacing some traditional measures that have been the cornerstone of quality improvement for years.”

The traditional approach to quality measurement focuses on processes of care, and reaching clinically artificial treatment goals for biomarkers, rather than the actual disease outcomes. Traditional approaches provide little quantitative information about the outcomes that actually occur based on the care patients receive. In contrast, the GCVR measures how much patients’ risk of future adverse health outcomes have been reduced.  Unlike current measures, which focus on a particular process or biomarker, the GCVR measure is a single metric that captures what every provider can do to prevent adverse outcomes, all integrated in a medically and clinically realistic way.

Under the project, NCQA will:

  • ·         Evaluate the feasibility of collecting data from EHRs to calculate a measurable result for different providers and provider organizations; and
  • ·         Evaluate provider views on how useful and meaningful the GCVR score is for predicting risk.

“The GCVR program will change how providers, patients, and payers think about the measurement of quality and will provide much more accurate and effective incentives for preventing adverse outcomes than has been possible in the past,” says David Eddy, MD, PhD, founder of Archimedes Inc., a San Francisco-based healthcare modeling company. “Preventing bad outcomes is the ultimate purpose of the health care system, and this measure will directly address that goal,” he says. “And because bad outcomes cause expensive admissions, tests, and procedures, this new measure will be more effective in controlling costs, at the same time that it helps improve patients’ lives.”

“The GCVR is a game-changer for measuring quality, promoting prevention, and assessing the impact of health care decisions on patient outcomes,” says RWJF President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD.  “Measuring quality in this way could have major implications for improving patient care and lowering costs because this is focused on preventing adverse health outcomes, not just on care processes or goals, which has been the standard until now.”

Over the next 18 months, NCQA will evaluate the feasibility of extracting the electronic health data it needs to calculate the measure from a number of health systems and health plans that use EHRs from around the country.  It is now in the process of recruiting organizations to participate. The data collection and analysis will occur over the summer and fall of 2013, and NCQA expects to report findings by summer 2014.

Watch the video A Pioneering Way to Measure Health Care Quality in which Helen Darling of The National Business Group on Health discusses how the GCVR will benefit employers.

April 30, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Health Tech Hatch Serves as User Testing Platform and Crowdfunding Resource for Healthfinder.gov Mobile App Challenge

The healthfinder.gov Mobile App Challenge will debut Hatch’s testing capability, which allows developers the opportunity to interact with end users to improve usability. healthfinder.gov is a reliable prevention and wellness website that provides information about preventive services covered under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Company’s Testing Capability Allows Developers to Work with End Users to Improve Usability of Application and Site for Consumers

Larkspur, Calif. (December 17, 2012) – Health Tech Hatch (Hatch), a crowdfunding and development resource for entrepreneurs creating innovative health and wellness products and companies, today announced it will operate as the user testing platform for the healthfinder.gov Mobile App Challenge. Hatch’s platform already supports health care innovators by providing crowdfunding, clinical and usability testing, and rating of concepts and prototypes, along with mentoring and marketing support to help entrepreneurs succeed in growing their businesses. The healthfinder.gov Mobile App Challenge will debut Hatch’s testing capability, which allows developers the opportunity to interact with end users to improve usability. healthfinder.gov is a reliable prevention and wellness website that provides information about preventive services covered under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as an advisor, challenges teams of developers and health professionals and health consumers to co-design a mobile app that will be used by the public to access customized decision support for preventive services and wellness information from healthfinder.gov. The ideal application (“app”) will help make healthfinder.gov content customizable and easy to use, reaching users where they are. Developers can register and complete entry requirements at the Health 2.0 Developer Challenge site.

healthfinder.gov’s Quick Guide to Healthy Living is a credible, science-based, and easy-to-use information resource presented in plain language. The Guide informs educates, and motivates users to incorporate healthy behaviors into their lives and take small steps towards improving their health.  healthfinder.gov also provides decision support for preventive services covered by the health care reform law (Affordable Care Act) through the myhealthfinder tool.

The mobile app should include Quick Guide to Healthy Living topics and information about preventive services covered under the Affordable Care Act. The app could include tools to help users integrate myhealthfinder, real-time communication tools to stay in touch with peers, community health services/locators; news, analyses and blogs from outside sources; social media and online networking communities; and/or any open source tools as appropriate.

“Supporting innovations that will actually be used by people to improve health is a shared mission among Hatch, HHS and Health 2.0, and is the inspiration behind Hatch’s testing platform,” says Patricia Salber, CEO of Health Tech Hatch. “We are proud to be a part of the first phase of the challenge, in which developers will submit working mobile app prototypes, along with documentation and evidence of public feedback via Health Tech Hatch. Developers are permitted to crowdfund their projects, although it is not required.”

Hatch’s platform combines crowdfunding with the power of social media to raise funds not only from family and friends but from anyone who may be interested in the project. A computer or mobile device, and an interest in supporting health care innovation, are all that are needed to get involved.

Submissions for phase one of the challenge, accepted until January 25, 2013, will be reviewed based on several criteria including usability and design; health literacy principles; connection to clinical preventive services and wellness information; evidence of co-design with end user, innovation in design, functionality and accuracy, and healthfinder.gov branding.

About Health Tech Hatch

Health Tech Hatch (Hatch)is an online and mobile resource dedicated to launching early-stage innovations in health care and putting them into the hands of patients, physicians, wellness professionals and consumers. HATCH provides a platform for crowdfunding–a groundbreaking method of raising start-up funds for a new business or product–and expert advice for health tech entrepreneurs (both in the for-profit and not-for-profit worlds) who have brilliant ideas ready to hatch. Learn more at www.healthtechhatch.com.

December 31, 2012 I Written By

Transforming Nursing Practice Through Technology & Informatics

Nurses are key leaders in developing the infrastructure for effective and efficient health information technology that transforms the delivery of care. Recognizing this vital leadership role of nurses in providing quality patient care, the HIMSS Board of Directors approved a position statement describing how to transform nursing practice through technology and informatics.  Leaders from the HIMSS Nursing Informatics Community, representing over 2,900 members who not only serve the nursing profession, but also, the broader healthcare industry and HIMSS membership at large, developed the position statement.

The HIMSS Board of Directors approved this position statement describing how to transform nursing practice through technology and informatics

Nurses are key leaders in developing the infrastructure for effective and efficient health information technology that transforms the delivery of care. Recognizing this vital leadership role of nurses in providing quality patient care, the HIMSS Board of Directors approved a position statement describing how to transform nursing practice through technology and informatics.  Leaders from the HIMSS Nursing Informatics Community, representing over 2,900 members who not only serve the nursing profession, but also, the broader healthcare industry and HIMSS membership at large, developed the position statement.

The position statement supports the landmark report from the Institute of Medicine and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health Report. The report provides criteria to transform the nursing profession, leading to new roles and leadership positions for nurses in the redesign of the healthcare system.

As stated in the report, “The United States has the opportunity to transform its healthcare system, and nurses can and should play a fundamental role in this transformation. However, the power to improve the current regulatory, business, and organizational conditions does not rest solely with nurses; academia, government, businesses, healthcare organizations, professional associations, consumers and the insurance industry all must play a role.”

HIMSS concurs with this statement and has outlined specific actions in its position statement for each of these constituencies. In addition, as noted in the position statement, a new type of nurse leader role is emerging: “the Nursing Informatics Executive.”

HIMSS expects a growing demand for this strategic and operational role to permeate the majority of healthcare organizations to support not only nursing practice, but the entire care delivery team in anticipating and adapting to changes in the healthcare environment. Emerging nursing informatics leadership roles are critical to engage in the necessary transformational activities and bridge the new care delivery models into clinical practice with the right technology solutions…(from the position statement)

“Nurses are an integral part of successfully achieving improved outcomes, optimal wellness and overall population health management,’” says Joyce Sensmeier RN-BC, MS, CPHIMS, FHIMSS, FAAN, Vice President, Informatics, HIMSS. “Involved in all aspects of healthcare, nurses play a role that truly puts them in a pivotal and important position where they can both influence healthcare reform and manage patient care needs across the continuum of care.”

About HIMSS
HIMSS is a cause-based, not-for-profit organization exclusively focused on providing global leadership for the optimal use of information technology (IT) and management systems for the betterment of healthcare. Founded 50 years ago, HIMSS and its related organizations have offices in Chicago, Washington, DC, Brussels, Singapore, Leipzig, and other locations across the United States. HIMSS represents more than 35,000 individual members, of which more than two thirds work in healthcare provider, governmental and not-for-profit organizations. HIMSS also includes over 520 corporate members and more than 120 not-for-profit organizations that share our mission of transforming healthcare through the effective use of information technology and management systems. HIMSS frames and leads healthcare practices and public policy through its content expertise, professional development, and research initiatives designed to promote information and management systems’ contributions to improving the quality, safety, access, and cost-effectiveness of patient care. To learn more about HIMSS and to find out how to join us and our members in advancing our cause, please visit our website at www.himss.org.

July 13, 2011 I Written By

Health Information Exchange to Test Unique Patient Identifiers

LONG BEACH, CA (May 31, 2011) – The Western Health Information Network (WHIN) has received a Pioneer grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for a pilot project to test how unique patient identifiers can increase patient control over their clinical information and  improve the quality of medical records.  The pilot project will involve issuing personal identifiers using the Voluntary Universal Healthcare Identifier (VUHID) system provided by Global Patient Identifiers, Inc. (GPII). VUHID allows participating providers to more accurately identify patients’ and access healthcare records at the time of the visit.

The grant was awarded to a collaboration between WHIN, a regional health information organization serving Southern California, and GPII, a Tucson-based non-profit company focused on a single healthcare identifier solution.    “One of the thorniest problems in our healthcare system is correctly identifying all the records for a given patient across the community. We are hopeful that WHIN and GPII’s work on patient identity will deliver important benefits to the healthcare system. This is very much in line with our mission to support innovations that improve healthcare delivery,” said Albert O. Shar, Vice President with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

“There are a number of niches where the lack of accurate patient identification is causing big problems for our healthcare system – increasing the possibility of medical errors and unnecessary testing.  We think that by improving the accuracy of patient identification, which will lead to giving patients more control over the privacy of their information, we can make great strides toward resolving these issues,” said Barry Hieb, MD, GPII Chief Scientist.

“We’ve looked at these kinds of problems, particularly as represented by parents of children with special needs,” says Laura Landry, WHIN’s executive director.   “Their children often have a large team of doctors that handle different aspects of their child’s care, so these parents often carry bulging folders of medical records between doctor visits to ensure the health information from previous visits is available to their current doctor. They would love to have a way to ensure that all their kid’s doctors are on the same page.  Of course, all healthcare consumers will benefit from using unique identifiers to ensure that records from previous visits are accurately linked so that clinicians have a complete picture of the patient’s health profile,” Ms. Landry went on to say.

The project was officially started in mid-April and is expected to continue into mid-2012, by which time WHIN and GPII will determine and quantify the benefits and challenges of unique identifiers among a population of patients in the Los Angeles area.

About WHIN

Established in 2003 as the Long Beach Network for Health and renamed the Western Health Information Network (WHIN) in 2009, WHIN was formed to address significant barriers to health information exchange – legal, technical, and cultural, in the Southern California region.  Having developed their legal and technical infrastructure, and with a focus on the ARRA HITECH-funded incentives, WHIN has established the health information technology and exchange framework for the Long Beach community to support healthcare delivery and enable patient information to be safely and securely available anywhere the patient allows it to be viewed.  Web site: www.whinit.org

About GPII

GPII is a non-profit corporation, dedicated to the deployment and support the VUHID system as a unique, efficient method to support patient identity management and enhanced privacy protections.  This is increasingly important as the proliferation of regional health information organizations (RHIOs) and health information exchanges (HIEs) presents the opportunity to evaluate practical solutions to the challenges of a single patient identifier.   VUHID is based on ASTM International standards and reflects GPII’s position that a voluntary, universal patient identifier is essential to achieve high quality, low cost healthcare in the United States.   Web site: www.gpii.info

About The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and healthcare issues facing our country.  As the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the quality of the health and healthcare of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change.  For more than 35 years, the Foundation has brought experience, commitment and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and healthcare of those it serves.  When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime.  Web site: www.rwjf.org

June 3, 2011 I Written By

WILL Interactive and HHS Partner to Prevent Healthcare-Associated Infections

Each year, approximately 100,000 people die from healthcare-associated infections in the United States. In addition, healthcare expenditures to address the consequences of these infections exact $28 to $33 billion annually. To address this challenge, WILL Interactive, America’s most experienced and highly recognized developer of computer-based video training simulations, is pleased to announce the release of Partnering to Heal: Team Up to Prevent Healthcare-Associated Infections (http://www.hhs.gov/ash/initiatives/hai/training/).

Developed for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Partnering to Heal is a Virtual Experience Immersive Learning Simulation (VEILSR) created by Vetwork Learning Solutions using WILL’s patented Interactive Behavior Modification System.  The simulation was honored earlier this month with the Horizon Interactive Awards’ Gold Medal for “Best Training/Instructional Video.”

In Partnering to Heal, users assume the roles of four different characters.  They make decisions as those characters that increase or reduce their infection risk and experience the outcomes of their decisions. Available at the HHS website and on DVD-ROM, Partnering to Heal promotes a team-based approach to helping prevent illnesses and deaths from Healthcare Associated Infections. It is designed to help clinicians, other healthcare personnel, visitors, and patients prevent infections that are all too often acquired in hospitals and other healthcare settings.

“The Partnering to Heal project is one that is universally important,” said Sharon Sloane, CEO and co-founder of WILL Interactive. “Healthcare-associated infections and the serious consequences arising from their incidence tangentially affect all Americans, and present a serious and continuing threat to public health.”

Formative research conducted before the training project was initiated showed a need for training to address cultural and communication competencies within healthcare settings, with a focus on empowering the entire healthcare team, including the patient.

Partnering to Heal focuses on preventing the most prevalent infections through knowledge of universal and isolation precautions.  The simulation is designed to increase knowledge, alter attitudes, and change the behaviors of practitioners, patients and visitors by focusing on teamwork, communication, hand-washing, vaccination against flu, and the appropriate use of antibiotics and medical devices.

WILL Interactive’s methodology has been shown in previous research to enhance critical thinking skills, promote knowledge acquisition, and change behavior.  It has been used to create seventy simulations and has been the subject of five independent pilot evaluations. The most notable among these was conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Boston University School of Public Health which found that, relative to comparison students, students who engaged in the training met 90 percent of outcome measures, indicating training effectiveness.

May 25, 2011 I Written By