HIT Trends Summary for February 2011

This is a summary of the HIT Trends Report for February 2011.  You can get the current issue or subscribe here.

Innovations in provider and patient solutions. DrFirst announced that it acquired AdherenceRx to integrate e-prescribing and care management. This is an innovative combination that helps smaller practices and EMR vendors that support them.

Emdeon is repositioning as a HIE, while combining its web EMR with LabCorp, and working with AAFP on benchmarking.  It is stepping up its game with a SaaS EMR, access to de-identified clinical data and major national partners.

Epocrates completed its IPO this month banking on its future mobile EMR.  It has the opportunity to leverage its industry-leading brand and reach into its new EMR for small practices.  The company will now need to execute on its new vision to keep Wall Street satisfied.

And smartphone health apps leader, iTriage, gets appointment scheduling by acquisition. This is innovative in that it makes scheduling from the provider point of view asynchronous.  It replaces the real-time phone conversation.

Breakthroughs in information exchange. AAFP partners with Surescripts in a compelling service for referrals.  Dr. Kibbe, a consultant to AAFP, described this announcement at the press event as innovative in several areas and I agree.  It’s an innovation for sharing patient clinical information.  The technology itself is innovative in that it expands on the Direct Project protocols.  The business model is innovative in that it can be utilized by the smallest of practices.  And the government is supporting the idea which will give it additional momentum.  This is likely to be a significant new service.

Microsoft unveils a mail solution tied to HealthVault. This is a viable approach if EMR solution providers support it.  It’s another example of how Direct Project HIE protocols can bring interesting ideas into the market quickly.

And Orion makes clinical vocabulary a requirement for information exchange. This idea is likely to play out over time throughout the HIE market.  Mapping and translation of clinical synonyms to standardized medical concepts is required to meaningfully aggregate the data.

IT for medical homes and accountable care. NCQA releases its standards for medical homes linked to stages in meaningful use.  There are five elements: access, population management, care management, patient self-care, care tracking and performance measurement.

Premier releases its IT roadmap for accountable care.  The model targets what Premier calls, “Triple Aim™ goals that include population health, cost and the patient experience.  It has five levels:  transaction, interaction, integration, collaboration and transformation.

And analysts, Drs. Wagner and Solomon, report how health information exchange is essential for accountable care.  They link HIE functions to collaborative care, reducing medical errors, avoiding readmissions and health and wellness.

Data structure and analysis. IBM’s Watson game show win sets the stage for its partnership with Nuance to add its clinical language resources to IBM analytics for healthcare.  They will mine data from EHRs, lab and imaging systems and transcription databases.  Data mining for clinical decision support is a key step on the road to transformation of clinical practice.  This partnership brings together great assets.  The increased availability of structured transcription data is a potential big win.    These models can produce practical results in clinical decision-making.

WellPoint is making its HealthCore data available for analysis in a relationship with AstraZeneca to find best practice.  It includes 36 million Blue Cross plan enrollee from 16 states. This is important for the scale of the data resources and a rigorous process for deriving value from clinical claims.

And a HMO network is partnering with pharma to find genetic links to some serious adverse drug events.  The 16 member HMO Research Network pulls together an impressive clinical data warehouse for this purpose.  All major pharma manufacturers are sponsoring.  The iSAEC information technology analysis center is at Columbia University.  Qualified researchers can get access.  The FDA consults on the direction of the initiative.  Getting genomic data and integrating the disparate EMR data are likely challenges.

Art of HIT. The art this month is Scaffolding I, by Dale Malner, 2007.  It puts the focus on technology ahead of value and cautions not to let technology itself become the goal.  Let’s remember HIT is the tool to transform healthcare delivery.

Michael Lake has been a healthcare technology strategist for over 30 years.  He is President of Circle Square Inc., a San Francisco-based strategy, business development and market research firm, focused exclusively on the healthcare information technology market. The company works with healthcare, life sciences and technology companies on developing strategies, products and business models for complex multi-stakeholder healthcare environments.  He publishes the HIT Trends Report monthly.  For more information, please see www.michaellake.com.

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