Ex­am­in­ing how health IT col­lides with fi­nan­cial in­cen­tives

Modern Healthcare - - THE WEEK AHEAD -

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of hos­pi­tals and the Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion will ex­am­ine whether var­i­ous tech­nolo­gies are ef­fec­tive in keep­ing pa­tients out of the hos­pi­tal at the up­com­ing ECRI In­sti­tute an­nual con­fer­ence in Wash­ing­ton.

The topic has been a hot one, par­tic­u­larly with ef­forts by the Of­fice of the Na­tional Co­or­di­na­tor for Health IT to es­tab­lish a Health IT safety cen­ter. ECRI, a not-for-profit tech­nol­ogy as­sess­ment group, has es­tab­lished a work­ing group on IT safety with elec­tronic health record and provider rep­re­sen­ta­tives, in­clud­ing Epic Sys­tems and the Amer­i­can Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion.

Panel mod­er­a­tor Mur­ray Ross, di­rec­tor of Kaiser Per­ma­nente’s In­sti­tute of Health Pol­icy, said the or­ga­ni­za­tional en­vi­ron­ment around tech­nol­ogy is as im­por­tant or more im­por­tant than the tech­nol­ogy it­self in de­ter­min­ing ef­fec­tive­ness. “Tech­nol­ogy, as in some­thing you get out of the box, is not some­thing that makes (change) hap­pen,” he said. Many risks to pa­tients, he added, come from “ex­e­cu­tion risk” rather than any­thing in­her­ent in health tech­nol­ogy.

The over­all theme of the con­fer­ence, which runs Nov. 6-7, is “The ‘New’ Com­plex Pa­tient: The Shift­ing Lo­cus on Care and Cost.”

Ross said us­ing tech­nol­ogy to keep pa­tients out of the hos­pi­tal has limited ef­fec­tive­ness as long as hos­pi­tals strive to fill beds to gain rev­enue. “We’ve bet a lot of money on health IT, but we haven’t been able to change a lot of the other en­ablers in the health­care sys­tem to get what we want from (the tech­nol­ogy),” he said.

—Dar­ius Tahir

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