Stronger, More Rounded Healthcare Delivery Through IT
So far in our series on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s “Federal Health IT Strategic Plan 2015-2020” we’ve detailed the overall scope of the plan and broken down two of its top goals: expanding the adoption of health IT and advancing the security and interoperability of health information.
In this post, we’re going to focus on another of the goals described in the report: strengthening healthcare delivery. As it stands now, healthcare delivery can sometimes be fragmented. Patients often need to bounce between multiple providers. Some of these providers may have little to no info on a person and his or her history. Also there’s often only little financial incentive for providers to carefully coordinate care across multiple locations, according to the report.
Expanding the use of healthcare IT can make continuous quality improvement a reality, leading to better overall results in a number of areas, including in the prevention of chronic and debilitating diseases, safer and more personalized care, and greater continuity of care.
The targets are set
In order to make healthcare delivery more effective and efficient, the government has ID’d three main targets. They are:
1) Improve healthcare quality, access, and experience through safe, timely, effective, efficient, equitable, and person-centered care
There’s little doubt that being able to access and share electronic health info can lead to a better and more coordinated patient care effort. The use of healthcare IT spiked thanks to the HITECH Act, and this objective should build on and hone that growth. In the coming years, the government will look to see telehealth and mobile health tech funding incorporated into federal programs. Also, it will promote the acceptance of tools which track and measure clinical quality, safety and adverse event info, and which also support clinical decisions. Automating the testing and validation of info used in quality measures will be another component of this upcoming push.
2) Support the delivery of high-value healthcare
Seamlessly interoperable healthcare IT can make it easier to track provider- and person-focused results, creating a care model which is more personalized and value-driven. To do this, the federal government is planning to make participation and reporting requirements for quality and claims programs simpler through the use of health IT. The Feds also hope to improve electronic information sources so that those are better able to support an organization’s ability to report and receive feedback on healthcare quality improvement projects. Also, there will be an effort made to provide implementation and usability support to qualifying organizations to help them make the most out of IT solutions.
3) Improve clinical and community services and population health
Stepping beyond a personal-focus, healthcare IT also plays a crucial role in helping providers achieve population-wide health goals. It can be leveraged to compile data from a multitude of individual sources. Then, that data can be analyzed to spot big picture trends within and across groups that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. The government plans to endorse data collection and analytical capabilities needed to spot people or groups whose health could be going underserved in the current market. It also will try to have a hand in the interoperable exchange of data and quality improvement files and tools. The government will also facilitate collaboration between public and private healthcare providers. The end goal of that partnership? Delivering more in-depth and well-rounded care to patients.
These three goals, as with the entire “Strategic Plan 2015-2020” will be up for discussion until February. When the dust settles, your organization could be facing a number of new challenges and opportunities. Arraya Solutions can help take lower level tasks off the plates of your IT team so they’ll be ready to confront those more-pressing challenges and take advantage of the higher-value opportunities as they present themselves.