March 1, 2012

Meaningful Use, HIE and ACO Top Topics @ HIMSS 2012 by Jim Bloedau

Meaningful Use of electronic health records was the main event in terms of news and the results of the annual survey of attendees this year at the annual HIMSS conference. Despite the continuing consolidation it was no surprise how many EHRs, large and small, who were on the exhibit floor chasing the $27 billion incentive program.

A related amount of buzz was around HIEs, which has already had one round of vendor consolidation.  About half of the respondents to the annual survey were participating in a HIE and the other half had chosen not to chase some of the $548 million in grants.  This will be an interesting sector to watch as the grant money for states begins to run out late 2014 and financial sustainability dominates the conversation between now and then. What’s going to be an additional challenge is that the notices of proposed rulemaking (NPRMs) for Stage 2 Meaningful Use (MU) previewed at HIMSS includes provisions for greater interoperability and flexible application design. The revisions, which keep some elements and change others from the Stage 1 mandate, include 18 measures for hospitals and a different list for individual providers and will offer additional challenges for HIEs to survive.

A third topic at the conference is the Accountable Care Organization provisions of health care law tying reimbursements to quality metrics which roll up into the Federal mandate mix. It is very early in this market, and the analytic companies prominently displayed an offering in their booths.

EHRs, HIEs, ACO and enhanced data analytics are the current "quadfecta" of the acute care arena and will receive great challenge from providers who are trying to figure out just how much reform is going to add or take away from their business.  This is an opportunity for a patient facing solution that goes beyond what HIEs offer to manage a population rather that just ship data between trading partners.

No comments: