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DrFirst Interviews Healthcare Thought Leaders

DrFirst Reporter

DrFirst's Roving Reporter interviewed experts from across the industry during the HIMSS16 Conference in Las Vegas

March 11, 2016

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas…unless it’s a ton of great ideas, new connections, valuable insights–and a fever, chills and rattling chest! (Did anyone else spend a few days in bed with that nasty #HIMSSflu that seemed to take down a significant cross-section of the conference cohort?)


We’re excited to share with you a collection of conversations that the DrFirst Roving Reporter team conducted with executives from across the healthcare industry.


Data analytics and population health

Many providers and vendors alike wanted to talk about using “big data” to improve population health and how healthcare providers can move forward in this “post-EHR era” to transform EHR data into information that’s actionable and useful.


Jim Hruby, IT director for Parkview Medical Center, talked with us about the challenges hospitals are facing when it comes to analyzing and acting on the large quantities of data now at their disposal.


“We’re dealing with a lot of big data, and hospitals have never dealt with big data,” he said, adding that he visited as many analytic software vendors as possible during the show so he could to learn how to become more efficient and “improve the way we do our business.”


Dr. Michael Blackman, CMO at McKesson, predicted that hospitals will finally see some light at the end of the twisting, turning EHR tunnel.


“As we move to value-based reimbursement, analytics will become increasingly important,” he said. “It helps us finally get all the data that’s been entered into the EHR systems into actionable information.”


Privacy, Security and HIPAA

Dr. Dominic Mack, Associate Professor at Morehouse School of Medicine, talked about the shared concerns of providers and patients when it comes to securing patient information.


“As we claim to increase the privacy and security, we’re also increasing the risk as more and more systems and databases connect with each other,” he said.


Healthcare Lawyer, Matt Fisher also shared his thoughts on the intersection of social media and HIPAA, and reminded providers about the importance of completing a security risk assessment, as required under HIPAA.


Here’s a quick snapshot of other conversations we had across the massive tradeshow floor:


  • Cost accounting and value-based care: Nancy Fabozzi, principal analyst at Frost & Sullivan, predicts that the focus of our “post-EMR” era of healthcare will be on dissecting and understanding the true costs of the care we provide. “We really cannot move to value until we understand the cost of care, not only within one institution, but across the continuum,” she said. “Any vendors that provide solutions that can really help providers get a good grasp on what things cost will be really valuable.”
  • Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances (EPCS): McKesson’s Blackman predicts that once the late-adopters get on board–particularly in New York state, where EPCS will be mandatory beginning March 27, 2016–they’ll appreciate the speed and ease of using EPCS software. “It is really going to make a difference in people’s work flow — they will not have to move back and forth between two systems to prescribe controlled substances and legend drugs,” he says.
  • Social media as a patient engagement tool: Mandi Bishop, a HIMSS Social Media Ambassador and Health Plan Analytics Innovation Practice Lead at Dell, encouraged healthcare organizations to use social media as a patient engagement tool. “If healthcare is to be a consumer model, we need to adapt and listen to the social conversation that’s happening,” she said. “We need to be able to incorporate those [tools] into our strategy to engage our patients and transform health delivery.”
  • Women in Health IT: Linda Stotsky, Business Development Director at LogicNets, discussed the origin of the Twitter-savvy posse known as the HealthITChicks. “It’s difficult to actually find mentors in health IT for women, because it’s predominantly men,” she said. “So [women in the industry] need to support one another, reach out and mentor the younger health IT chicks that are coming up.”


There are a ton of additional interviews – 30 in all! We encourage you to check them out on our YouTube page–and to share your thoughts on future topics we should pursue.

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