Driving a data revolution with information technology

New horizons - 2013 health care industry report

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Better use of data — through such tools as mobile technologies and electronic health records (EHRs) — is vital to a continuously improving health system.

Federal funding and health information technology (HIT) incentives are being applied to a variety of programs to support better data use, while technology innovators are at the forefront of navigating the nation’s health care system, developing electronic tools to increase efficiencies, digitize medical records and streamline the payment process. The pace of change is brisk, and the number of ways and venues in which providers, payers and patients receive and share health information is rapidly multiplying — increasing the complexity of the health information technology environment.

Considerations for your board and executive leaders

For all health care organizations

  • Does your organization have effective governance in place to guide it, not only in leveraging fast-paced changes in technology but also in addressing the compliance risks and regulatory challenges associated with HIT?

For providers

  • Has your organization participated in any telemedicine or data-sharing pilot projects? If you have not yet ventured into initiatives such as these, have you assessed the readiness of your current HIT to accommodate such ventures or determined and planned for any changes needed to HIT systems in order to be ready to participate?
  • Is your organization prepared for potential meaningful use audits, including retaining documentation that supports attestation data for MU objectives and quality measures for six years post­attestation?
  • Has your organization begun to train physicians and other practitioners so that they have a clear understanding of the ICD-10 concepts involved in the procedures and services they typically perform, as well as the documentation required to support an ICD-10 claim?

For payers

  • Does your organization monitor the financial viability of any HIT system vendors you rely upon? In particular, where your organization’s information is stored in “the cloud,” are you mindful that if the vendor goes out of business, access to your client and claims information may become problematic?
  • Do you provide members with access to online sites or mobile apps that can help them make cost­effective health care decisions and actively engage in managing their health? Do you target groups at high risk for health care complications and offer monitoring tools, online health coaches or other real­time access to guide them to lower-cost alternatives or other services designed to prevent readmissions, ER visits and use of costly medications?