Tech firms re­fo­cus to ad­dress Stage 3

Modern Healthcare - - NEWS - By Beth Kutscher

A new group of in­no­va­tors are en­ter­ing the fi­nal phase of the fed­eral elec­tronic health-record pro­gram as its fo­cus shifts away from im­ple­men­ta­tion and to­ward qual­ity out­comes and pa­tient-cen­tered data ex­change.

Stage 3 mean­ing­ful-use rules—which out­line what providers need to do to get in­cen­tive pay­ments for EHR adop­tion and how de­vel­op­ers can en­sure their sys­tems are cer­ti­fied for the pro­gram—fur­ther em­pha­size tools to help with clin­i­cal de­ci­sion­mak­ing, in­crease elec­tronic com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween physi­cians and pa­tients, and in­cor­po­rate pa­tient-gen­er­ated data into the EHR.

They also aim to pro­mote greater in­ter­op­er­abil­ity among EHR plat- forms, whether data are be­ing shared among providers, be­tween providers and their pa­tients, or with public health agen­cies.

That call is be­ing an­swered not only by tra­di­tional EHR com­pa­nies, but also by a num­ber of dig­i­tal-health hope­fuls. Allscripts was on hand at the re­cent Health 2.0 con­fer­ence pro­mot­ing a pro­gram that in­vites out­side pro­gram­mers to cre­ate apps that can in­te­grate with its EHR. While some of those ap­pli­ca­tions deal with prac­tice man­age­ment is­sues such as sched­ul­ing and billing, oth­ers fo­cus on pa­tient en­gage­ment, or how to trans­fer data from test­ing de­vices di­rectly into a pa­tient’s record.

The thrust of the mean­ing­ful-use rules has been doc­u­men­ta­tion, or how doc­tors record in­for­ma­tion about their pa­tients, said Stan­ley Crane, Allscripts chief in­no­va­tion of­fi­cer. But the com­pany wants to be a “plat­form for in­no­va­tion,” he said.

“The bril­liance of Ap­ple is not that they cre­ated the (iPhone) tech­nol­ogy,” he said. Rather, the iPhone cre­ated the plat­form for de­vel­op­ers to de­sign mo­bile apps that cre­ate a cus­tom­ized ex­pe­ri­ence for each iPhone user.

The fo­cus on pa­tient-gen­er­ated data in Stage 3 is good for com­pa­nies such as Va­lidic, which aims to pro­vide a plat­form from which its clients can ac­cess in­for­ma­tion from dozens of dig­i­tal health apps, from wearable pe­dome­ters such as Fit­bit to a blood pres­sure mon­i­tors like Om­ron’s.

Va­lidic has part­nered with EHR ven­dors Cerner Corp. and Meditech, which in­te­grate the data di­rectly into EHR plat­forms. The com­pany’s health sys­tem clients such as Sut­ter Health and UPMC sim­i­larly flow data into their Epic EHR sys­tems, said Va­lidic’s co-founder and chief tech­nol­ogy of­fi­cer, Drew Schiller.

But the fu­ture is not only in data ag­gre­ga­tion, tech in­no­va­tors say, but in plat­forms that can read that data and alert a clin­i­cian when a pa­tient may need an early in­ter­ven­tion.

“What we’re talk­ing about is this new era of cog­ni­tive com­put­ing,” said Dr. Kyu Rhee, chief health of­fi­cer at IBM.

IBM Wat­son Health is work­ing to cre­ate a plat­form that can take the un­struc­tured data that physi­cians en­ter into an EHR and use it, for ex­am­ple, to of­fer a dif­fer­en­tial di­ag­no­sis. Its latest soft­ware ap­pli­ca­tion, the Wat­son Care Man­ager, can col­lect data from wearable and re­mote mon­i­tor­ing de­vices, and iden­tify warn­ing signs be­fore a pa­tient be­comes acutely ill.

That level of au­to­mated feed­back may be the miss­ing link to ex­plain­ing why EHR use by it­self has not been linked to im­proved qual­ity out­comes, Rhee noted.

“This fits com­pletely (into) this whole con­cept of in­ter­op­er­abil­ity,” he said. “It’s about ‘how do you trans­late big data into big in­sights?’ ”

Still, the CMS wants to make it eas­ier for providers to ad­here to Stage 3 of mean­ing­ful use. Only a sin­gle pa­tient per pay­ment year has to elec­tron­i­cally view, down­load or trans­fer their health in­for­ma­tion to meet re­quire­ments.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.