Hot top­ics are show­stop­pers at Ve­gas gath­er­ing

Modern Healthcare - - MODERN HEALTHCARE - Joseph Conn

ICD-10 and Stage 2 dom­i­nate chat­ter in Las Ve­gas

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment cer­tainly did its part in giv­ing the more than 37,000 peo­ple who at­tended the 2012 Health­care In­for­ma­tion and Man­age­ment Sys­tems So­ci­ety con­fer­ence and ex­hi­bi­tion some­thing to talk about from the minute they ar­rived in Las Ve­gas to when the last weather-de­layed at­tendee lifted off from Mccar­ran In­ter­na­tional Air­port to go home.

Two top­ics dom­i­nated the dis­cus­sion at the meet­ing: The gov­ern­ment’s decision to de­lay the Oct. 1, 2013 dead­line for switch­ing to the ICD-10 di­ag­nos­tic and pro­ce­dural codes and the gov­ern­ment’s re­lease of pro­posed reg­u­la­tions out­lin­ing the re­quire­ments to meet Stage 2 of the mean­ing­ful-use in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy in­cen­tive pro­gram.

HHS’ decision to post­pone ICD-10 came just days be­fore the con­fer­ence started and the re­lease of the pro­posed Stage 2 reg­u­la­tions came a day be­fore the con­fer­ence ended. In be­tween, it was pretty much all peo­ple could talk about.

Daily ru­mors of the pro­posed reg­u­la­tions’ im­mi­nent re­lease forced at­ten­dees, con­ven­tion staffers and fed­eral of­fi­cials to con­tin­u­ously jug­gle their plans, reschedul­ing and rewrit­ing “town hall” meet­ing and spe­cial­ized ed­u­ca­tional ses­sions in­tended to dis­cuss Stage 2 re­quire­ments.

On Feb. 22—a day be­fore the pro­posed reg­u­la­tions were fi­nally re­leased— Dr. Farzad Mostashari, head of the Of­fice of the Na­tional Co­or­di­na­tor for Health In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy at HHS, drew an over­flow crowd—and a cho­rus of groans—at a ses­sion that was sup­posed to have been de­voted to re­view of the re­leased Stage 2 rule. Mostashari gave a pre­view of the pro- posed reg­u­la­tions, but copies of his vis­ual pre­sen­ta­tion were with­held from public post­ing to the HIMSS web­site.

Con­ven­tion-go­ers also heard from a va­ri­ety of pre­sen­ters on their own im­ple­men­ta­tions of and achieve­ments with health IT sys­tems, such as St. John’s Re­gional Med­i­cal, Jo­plin, Mo., which had in­stalled an EHR just weeks be­fore May 22, 2011, when a mas­sive tor­nado smashed the hospi­tal and de­stroyed much of the city. The St. John’s sys­tem was net­worked with EHRS across the 24-hospi­tal Sis­ters of Mercy Health Sys­tem, which owns St. John’s, and that made rapid re­cov­ery of pa­tients’ med­i­cal records pos­si­ble.

Within 27 hours of the dis­as­ter, the hospi­tal was able to print out copies of the med­i­cal records of the 183 pa­tients who were ad­mit­ted at the time the tor­nado struck and be­gin de­liv­er­ing their records to other hos­pi­tals and providers, said Wil­liam Showal­ter, chief in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer for Sis­ters of Mercy. Of­fi­cials from the Vet­er­ans Af­fairs and De­fense de­part­ments used the con­fer­ence to give a progress re­port on their ef­forts to har­mo­nize the health­care IT sys­tems used within their re­spec­tive health­care or­ga­ni­za­tions and to call on the ven­dor com­mu­nity to help de­velop a com­mon re­place­ment EHR for both.

“There are many sources of sup­ply—com­mer­cial off-theshelf, pro­pri­ety, open-source,” said David Wen­ner­gren, deputy as­sis­tant sec­re­tary of de­fense for in­for­ma­tion man­age­ment and tech­nol­ogy, and the depart­ment’s CIO.

The VA an­nounced last year the es­tab­lish­ment of an open­source project to up­grade its ven­er­ated Vista EHR, but Wen­ner­gren said, “You do not have to be open­source soft­ware to par­tic­i­pate” in the joint Va/de­fense de­vel­op­ment.

Wen­ner­gren said open-source de­vel­op­ers may be able to cre­ate some of the mod­ules that the new sys­tem needs, “but re­al­is­ti­cally, most of these ap­pli­ca­tions will come from mar­kets that are al­ready out there.” De­vel­op­ment should take four years, he said.

The HIMSS show this year smashed sev­eral records. The final at­ten­dance num­ber was 37,032, well past the pre­vi­ous record of about 31,500 set last year in Or­lando, Fla. A record 1,123 ven­dors also par­tic­i­pated, up from about 1,000 last year.

For com­plete cov­er­age of this year’s con­fer­ence, visit mod­ern­health­care.com/liveath­imss. The 2013 HIMSS con­fer­ence and ex­hi­bi­tion is sched­uled March 3- 7 in New Or­leans.

— with David Burda, Chris­tine Lafave Grace and Mau­reen Mckin­ney

A stage of a dif­fer­ent kind at­tracted IT ex­ec­u­tives at the con­fer­ence’s open­ing re­cep­tion.

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