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Russ Branzell at CHC

by Russ Branzell
Published on October 2, 2019

Estimated read time: 4 minutes

Health care leaders from around the world will gather to network and learn from one another during the Cerner Health Conference 2019 (CHC19) Oct. 7-9 in Kansas City, Missouri. As an exhibitor at the event, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) has an exciting opportunity to further our mission of empowering industry leaders to use knowledge, technology and public policy to improve the health and care of the communities they serve.

CHIME founded its public policy program in 2007, and since then, we’ve worked alongside our members to provide educational and technical policy leadership to Congress, the White House and federal agencies. We know how important it is for health care IT executives to be informed and involved in the federal policies that can transform health care.

On Oct. 8, I’m participating in a health care policy panel with Rick Pollack, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association, as part of the CHC Executive Summit. Here are five of the topics we’ll explore during our conversation and throughout the conference:

1. Minimizing cybersecurity threats

Historically, the health care industry has lagged behind other sectors in cybersecurity. But, more and more, health care organizations are realizing that they’re increasingly under threat and need to shore up their defenses to protect their infrastructure and the patients they serve. Outmaneuvering malicious actors is a never-ending challenge in the current landscape, but through increasing organization and collaboration, we can optimize our resources. Industry leaders must make every effort to minimize these threats and protect patients’ personal health information.

2. Spurring progress toward interoperability

There’s no doubt that we‘ve made important strides in sharing data across different care settings, but we still face challenges in facilitating better electronic information exchange. CHIME, along with six other health care industry groups, recently called for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) to allow more time to address the concerns around its proposed data blocking regulations. While we support ONC’s work to carry out the provisions of the 21st Century Cures Act, we think there’s still significant work to be done to ease the compliance burden on providers and to ensure proper privacy and security safeguards are in place to protect patient data.

3. Moving from the information age to the artificial intelligence age

The fourth industrial revolution in health care is a whole new world. New technology and cutting-edge tools, such as 5G, precision medicine, drones and chatbots, are expanding quickly and are set to completely change the way we deliver care. Health policy must respond to the transformation as we move from the information age to the artificial intelligence age. The status quo for policymaking won’t suffice; technology and innovation are moving too quickly.

4. Promoting innovation

Now that we have widespread implementation and adoption of electronic health records, we have an opportunity to build off the resources and expertise to promote innovation. We must work with policymakers to ensure new rules or changes help health care professionals do their jobs better and truly improve patient outcomes. In February, CHIME launched CHIME Innovation, a new initiative to facilitate the creation and adoption of health care technology innovation and to improve health and care globally. The launch also marked the completion of the Innovation Center. This facility, developed in partnership with Utah-based Intermountain Healthcare, offers workshops and events focused on innovation leadership. Through CHIME Innovation, members can share their innovation success stories and best practices, which may also serve as case studies that can help inform policy.

5. Tackling the opioid crisis

It’s no secret that we’re in the midst of a crisis due to the overprescribing of opioids, which claims up to 130 lives daily. The CHIME Opioid Task Force is taking steps to help identify and prevent opioid misuse and addiction, but we can’t do it alone. Although federal health policy and drug laws are making a meaningful impact, IT vendors, care providers and public officials can help by using data to change provider behavior when prescribing opioids. I spoke at length on this very subject at last year’s CHC Executive Summit and more recently on an episode of Cerner’s podcast. In order for us to truly make headway against this crippling disease, we must educate policymakers about IT’s essential role in the fight against opioid addiction.

At CHIME, we believe that tenacious collaboration and meaningful partnerships will elevate our success and drive the next wave of health care innovation. I’m truly looking forward to connecting with health care leaders from around the world on these important policy issues next week at CHC19.

CHC19 is a hub for the latest innovation in health care and IT. Learn more here.