Breaches, MACRA, and Value-Based Care Headline iHT2 HIT Summit in Seattle in August

Aug 25, 2016 | Blog

By Alan Eisman, SVP Sales and Business Development

This month, while many of you were relaxing on the beach, HBI partnered with Sirius Computer Solutions to sponsor the Institute for Healthcare Technology Transformation (iHT2) HIT Summit in Seattle.

As expected data security, interoperability, MACRA, and value-based care dominated the conversation. Adding some local flavor to mix, iHT2 also focused on telehealth, a nod to the many local medical providers using digital technology to reach patients living in rural northwest communities.

Of note, recently named Virginia Mason Medical Center (VMMC) CEO Susanne T. Anderson, gave an inspiring talk on leadership. We caught up with Susanne afterward and our conversation reminded us of the saying “culture eats strategy for breakfast.” It was clear that Susanne epitomizes the type of leadership needed to further VMMC’s reputation as a leader in the use of lean methodologies for continuous quality improvement. Similar to the mission of VMMC, HBI has a foundation in quality improvement, preventing illness, and putting the patient first. A phrase from VMMC’s vision statement strikes a cord with us, “our aspiration is not to be the biggest, but to be the best.”

Chris Ewell, Ph.D, Chief Security Officer at UW Medicine gave a particularly hard hitting presentation on security. He began with “2015 was a very bad year”, referencing the 3930 data breaches suffered by US healthcare organizations this past year, as well as the large number of OCR settlement fines totaling in the millions of dollars. He admitted that it’s not a matter of if but when hackers will strike, and that the industry must focus on how to best manage risk and plan to respond to a breach.

The elephant in the room of course was the impending MACRA regulations. Presenter Richard Royer, CEO of Primaris, boiled it down to the basics: the value model rewards performance; value-based care models are extremely data driven; and collaboration is an important success factor. We couldn’t agree more. As providers are increasingly paid to deliver quality over quantity, they must leverage data and tools to help them better manage their patients, prevent illness, and support collaboration across the continuum of care. HBI offers those tools, helping pioneering providers succeed in a value-based healthcare world.

We also hosted a dinner with Sirius for conference speakers and thought leaders. The discourse flowed as the fine bottles of Washington Cabernet Franc quickly emptied. Dr. Bryant Thomas, Chief Informatics Officer and Chief Science Officer for the Washington State Department of Health noted that the term ‘population health’ existed in a public setting long before it became cliché in the clinical world.  He said that in the clinical world, population health has previously related only to patients in your care. But he suggested it now focus on the entire population and use all available data, including social determinants of health.

At HBI we couldn’t agree more. We’re focused on precision health, a new approach using data science to better predict and prevent disease. Our predictive models incorporate all data sources including real-time EHR data, unstructured data like visit notes, claims and billing information, and public data sources like the Census. We believe there is even more potential for reducing costs and improving quality by preventing disease rather than simply managing it.

Back in the conference, attendees and speakers felt that uncertainties surrounding MACRA, slow progress toward true interoperability, and lack of resources required to support collaboration and clinical integration were the biggest obstacles to value-based care and precision health. Luckily, smart healthcare leaders aren’t letting these issues stand in their way. They know value-based care is the end game and are leveraging available resources to meet future MACRA requirements while maintaining a healthy thriving business. And while the naysayers will procrastinate making them ill-prepared for what’s coming, leaders like VMMC and others will succeed. It is these leading organizations that HBI seeks to support as we strive to deliver them with the best precision health solutions on the market.