'Innovate or die': HIMSS observations from Dr. John Halamka

Another year of HIMSS has come and gone, and, per usual, one key theme emerged from the conference.

John Halamka, MD, CIO of Boston-based Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, found the overarching message of this year's conference to be "innovate or die," he wrote on his blog "Life as a Healthcare CIO."

Dr. Halamka wrote this year's overarching message replaced buzzwords of years past and instead offered a call to action.

"In the next 24 months we'll see an accelerating evolution of fee-for-service into alternative payment models fueled by [the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act] and [Merit-Based Incentive Payment System]," he wrote. "We will no longer be driven by compliance imperatives but instead will need to improve outcomes in order to survive financially."

To do that, Dr. Halamka said providers are required to coordinate care from all sides, including organizations outside of a primary care provider's ordinary network.

"The only way they can succeed is by aggregating data from payers, providers and patients/families in an attempt to provide 'care traffic control,'" he wrote.

Dr. Halamka wrote that while the industry is still figuring out how to accomplish this, there are tools and organizations to help along the way. He mentioned a few by name, including Surescripts' National Record Locator Service, CommonWell Health Alliance and FHIR-based application programming interfaces.

"It is possible today to connect the healthcare ecosystem using the enablers listed above," he wrote. "We do not need to wait for the perfect standard or next round of prescriptive regulations."

Overall, Dr. Halamka said he is leaving HIMSS optimistic about the future of health IT.

More articles on HIMSS:

8 questions with Epic CEO Judy Faulkner
HIMSS cost accounting survey: Provider preparedness for value varies by region
athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush headlines HIMSS16 views from the top with Dr. John Halamka

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