IT roadmap update: Patient engagement soars while data exchange lags

In 2013, the Louis W. Sullivan Institute for Healthcare Innovation issued its 2013 WEDI Report & Roadmap for the Future of Healthcare Exchange identifying four key areas of focus to advance health information exchange.

Now, the institute has issued an update on that roadmap, identifying areas of significant improvement and areas that still have a ways to go.

The 2013 report identified patient engagement, payment models, data harmonization and exchange and innovative encounter models as key focus areas that would advance the exchange of electronic data.

In the update, the institute has ranked patient engagement and innovative encounter models with a "green" progress rating, and payment models and data harmonization and exchange with a "yellow" progress rating.

Patient engagement: Current efforts to advance patient engagement have kept this focus area's progress on track, according to the institute. Initiatives contributing to progress in this area include standardized patient identifiers, growing health IT education and literacy programs for consumers and the adoption of mHealth processes.

Innovative encounter models: The healthcare industry has been largely successful in changing the way consumers, providers and payers act throughout the continuum of care, such as telehealth initiatives and advancements to reduce administrative workflow efficiencies, according to the report.

Payment models: This focus area received a yellow progress rating largely due to the complexity of information, technology and algorithms required for population health management operations, according to the report. "It has proven challenging for many organizations — particularly payment models such as bundled payment programs — to move beyond basic excel spreadsheets to efficiently transmit large sets of data or apply more advanced analytics."

Data harmonization and exchange: Interoperability is still a fragmented operation, and there is still a need for a formal structure to streamline reporting and eliminate enterprise boundaries.

"Looking ahead to 2015, new regulations and legislation are expected to further guide stakeholders towards a sustainable health IT infrastructure," the report concludes. "Innovative technologies will continue to be developed, implemented and scaled across the public and private sectors that reshape the healthcare landscape. Consumers will play a greater role in their care, and stakeholders will continue to harmonize data and standards to permit better access to electronic information."

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