Health IT and the path toward better care and lower costs

A Health 2.0 panel tackles tech training, healthy homes and more.

Health 2.0 NorthwestHealth 2.0, which has various chapters around the world, opened a Northwest outpost in mid-August. The new chapter was kicked off with a panel discussion titled “Improving Patient Care with Health Information Technology (HIT).”

The panel discussed how technologies are working together to improve patient care, enhance clinical and payor efficiencies, and lower costs. There were presentations on personal health records (PHRs), healthcare in the home, and current work on the Health 2.0 Developer Challenge.

Here’s a rundown of the panelists and the points they made during the session:

William Hersh, M.D., Professor and Chair of the Department of Medical Informatics & Clinical Epidemiology in the School of Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU)

OHSU has received millions in funding for its biomedical informatics graduate program and development of health IT curricula. Hersh said OHSU will help educate the estimated 50,000 professionals needed to convert the country to electronic health records by the year 2014. There is already a growing need in the healthcare community for trained health IT workers, and this need will begin to stress the system as increased adoption of electronic health records takes place.

Eric Dishman, Director of Health Innovation for Intel’s Digital Health Group (PCMH)

Dishman focused on moving healthcare into the home. That means not only having a patient-centered medical home, but actually having healthy homes. He discussed “10,000 households or bust” — an effort to create a living lab for older adults in a wide range of economic and geographical conditions. This would form a robust cohort of older people to test health technologies on a large scale. Dishman also compared health 2.0 to the e-mail revolution of the 1990s, noting that new health technology is not meant to replace the doctor-patient relationship but to enhance it through new tools.

Susan Woods, Associate National Director, eHealth Veterans Health Administration

Woods spoke about the importance of personal health records (PHR) and engaging patients in their healthcare. A key takeaway from her talk was the need to achieve “meaningful use for patients.” She gave an introduction into the VA’s electronic health record system (based on VistA) and the new MyHealth eVet. She also spoke about the patient-centered medical home and how making this coordinated and efficient really requires new models of care. She summed it up with a great formula: Patients + Information + Experts + Each Other. This will truly equal better care!

Lizzie Dunklee, Executive Producer at Health 2.0

Dunklee presented on the Health 2.0 Developer Challenge and brought a national perspective to the new local chapter. The Developer Challenge is partly a continuation of the great work done within the Community Health Data Initiative, and partly an expansion of the code-a-thon/developer camp effort that’s a hallmark of the Health 2.0 community.

Jeffrey Brandt, CTO of CSI graduate OHSU Biomedical Informatics program (Mobility)

Brandt and CSI, Inc. are working on a Health 2.0 Developer Challenge where their PHR will be integrated with the Practice Fusion electronic health record system. Brandt also spoke about the importance of including mobile in the PHR framework. “Smartphones will one day be the remote control for our healthcare,” he said.

Frank Ille, Co-founder of HealthSaaS (PHRs)

Ille and HealthSaaS are also working on a Developer Challenge and he is the manager of the new Health 2.0 Northwest Chapter.

Each of the panelists gives their take on the event in the following video:


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