2011 Meaningful Use & Health Care Transformation Conference, Cincinnati, OH

By: Matt Curtin, Client Services Vice President

The Meaningful Use and Health Care Transformation Conference on May 20 featured morning and afternoon panelists discussing MU, ACOs, and the future of healthcare. The morning session, “Healthcare Transformation: Navigating the Road Ahead” focused on system redesign and quality improvement for taxpayers and recipients of care. David Groves, Director Ohio Governor’s Office of Health Transformation, said his office is committed to moving from instructional to community based care and talked about Ohio’s Medicaid rate (4% of OH’s budget). He pointed out fragmentations vs. coordination – it refers to multiple providers vs. accountable medical homes, provider vs. patient-centered care, institutional approach vs. continuum of care.

“What Lies Ahead for ONC Meaningful Use and Beyond” lunch session featured a panel of three healthcare executives covering: continuity of principles, strategy and approach; implementation; healthcare transformation; and patient-centered care. Trends to embrace according to the panel are: healthcare transformation – thinking about the plan and executing and in the next two years massively changing to consumer-based healthcare; moving from shared data to advanced care with DSS-based functionality to improved outcomes. The MU2 final rule is anticipated by mid 2012 by HHS and by June 8th slides will be posted on the ONC website. Overall, the panel is concerned about efficiency and workflow changes and notes that accountability is the next step and future goal. The greatest MU debate within the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (members of the panel) centered around quality measures focusing on MU2 and broad, but meaningful measures that apply to most providers, e.g. patient engagements, getting and giving referrals, ordering tests, etc.

Q & A For Lunch Panel (Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, Children’s Hospital Research Foundation, Christ Hospital)

An audience member asked about upcoming pilots in e-prescribing regarding narcotics. Answer: Workflow duality is a major challenge and is a great opportunity for increasing RX monitoring and fighting abuse; will be able to track these usages regardless of cash or claims-based payment.

Patient-portal is vendor specific – should this be regional or community-based? Answer: This can and should be patient-driven. Demand can change this. Think of the “blue button” example; VA did a soft-launch of one-click ability to download one’s own patient data.

Is there potential harmonizing with MU and ACO rule making? Answer: This is the future, rewarding quality and value, and people need to get ready because no one knows what MU2 looks like.

Q & A For Afternoon Panel (TriHealth, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Community Initiatives of GE, Mercy Medical Associates)

The afternoon discussion panel discussed “Payment Reform and Accountable Care: How Will It Affect the Tri-State Region?”  The panelists defined ACO as a specific payment program, not a general term. All providers are responsible in the care continuum. On the payer side, view ACO as a status of organizational payment and must continually review performance. One panelist answered “What are we being accountable for and what population.” He said the payment reform design model should align with measurable outcomes – must start with premise of intent on increase quality within a community.

How does MU support payment reform? Answer: MU is using technology in a “meaningful” way, including the concept of the medical home, leading to clinical transformation. MU is essential for brining in EMRs – must have that data to understand population health information that allows for clinical transformation to take place. MU should drive positive clinical outcomes, not payment reform. MU is hard and criteria seems abstract. In order to be successful, providers must included end-users to communicate / demonstrate how this data can influence care improvement.