AMA launches col­lab­o­ra­tive data project

Modern Healthcare - - NEWS - By Rachel Z. Arndt

An­other health­care be­he­moth is ven­tur­ing into the murky wa­ters of data an­a­lyt­ics and in­ter­op­er­abil­ity.

The Amer­i­can Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion last week launched the In­te­grated Health Model Ini­tia­tive, with the goal of devel­op­ing a frame­work for the in­dus­try to col­lect, or­ga­nize and share health data.

“This col­lec­tive ef­fort will foster pa­tient-care mod­els that achieve bet­ter out­comes, as well as tech­ni­cal in­no­va­tions to ad­dress poor in­ter­op­er­abil­ity,” ac­cord­ing to an AMA state­ment.

Al­ready, sev­eral big names have joined the ini­tia­tive, in­clud­ing Cerner Corp., IBM, In­ter­moun­tain Health­care and the Amer­i­can Med­i­cal In­for­mat­ics As­so­ci­a­tion.

“This rep­re­sents a bold at­tempt to ad­vance an im­por­tant as­pect of in­ter­op­er­abil­ity,” said Dr. David McCal­lie, Cerner’s se­nior vice pres­i­dent for med­i­cal in­for­mat­ics, point­ing to the im­por­tance of im­prov­ing clin­i­cal data mod­els’ se­man­tics.

And while ab­sent from the in­au­gu­ral class of par­tic­i­pants, health IT gi­ant Epic Sys­tems Corp. may sign on soon. “We sup­port the AMA’s many ini­tia­tives to con­trib­ute to the im­prove­ment of care and look for­ward to join­ing this col­lab­o­ra­tion,” said Dr. Chris Mast, Epic’s vice pres­i­dent of clin­i­cal in­for­mat­ics.

In 2016, Epic got in­volved in an­other in­dus­try­wide col­lab­o­ra­tive, Com­mon­well, through the group’s work with Care­qual­ity, of which Epic is a mem­ber. The two groups are work-

As the AMA gathers feed­back from par­tic­i­pants, it will ex­plore a com­mon data model, which it says could foster bet­ter data an­a­lyt­ics and man­age­ment.

ing to­gether on in­ter­op­er­abil­ity projects, in­clud­ing record lo­ca­tion.

The AMA’s ini­tia­tive will com­ple­ment ef­forts un­der­way at the Of­fice of the Na­tional Co­or­di­na­tor for Health In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy, which is man­dated by the 21st Cen­tury Cures Act to im­prove in­for­ma­tion shar­ing across the in­dus­try. The ONC al­ready has its In­ter­op­er­abil­ity Stan­dards Ad­vi­sory and is form­ing the Health In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee, which will make rec­om­men­da­tions on health IT in­fra­struc­ture and how to get data to move more ef­fec­tively across the in­dus­try.

“I an­tic­i­pate we will work with agency of­fi­cials to en­sure In­te­grated Health Model Ini­tia­tive ef­forts and ONC goals are mu­tu­ally re­in­forc­ing,” said Jeff Smith, vice pres­i­dent of public pol­icy for AMIA. For in­stance, the ini­tia­tive will tap stan­dards that the ONC ref­er­ences in its cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­gram, Smith said.

The ONC, for its part, is just be­gin­ning to go over the AMA’s frame­work, said an ONC spokesper­son. “We are pleased to see pri­vate in­dus­try ef­forts to im­prove in­ter­op­er­abil­ity, in­clud­ing pro­pos­als that ex­plore the types and uses of health data.”

In the case of the In­te­grated Health Model Ini­tia­tive, those ef­forts in­clude vir­tual com­mu­ni­ties, which will al­low both in­di­vid­ual peo­ple and or­ga­ni­za­tions to col­lab­o­rate and pro­vide feed­back on par­tic­u­lar ar­eas, start­ing with hy­per­ten­sion, di­a­betes and asthma, which are among the chronic ill­nesses that the AMA says are most costly to so­ci­ety and the econ­omy.

As the AMA gathers feed­back from par­tic­i­pants, it will ex­plore a com­mon data model, which it says could foster bet­ter data an­a­lyt­ics and man­age­ment. That, in turn, would lead to bet­ter pa­tient out­comes and a re­duced bur­den on physi­cians over­whelmed by data.

“We spend more than $3 tril­lion a year on health­care in Amer­ica and gen­er­ate more health data than ever be­fore,” AMA CEO Dr. James Madara said in a state­ment. “Yet some of the most mean­ing­ful data—data to un­lock po­ten­tial im­prove­ments in pa­tient out­comes—is frag­mented, in­ac­ces­si­ble or in­com­plete.”

The In­te­grated Health Model Ini­tia­tive is the lat­est in the AMA’s out­reach ef­forts. At the end of 2016, the or­ga­ni­za­tion launched the Physi­cian In­no­va­tion Net­work, which pairs physi­cians with com­pa­nies look­ing for in­put in what amounts to a free networking site for providers and health tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies.

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