Health IT Innovation Showcased at HIMSS16

Photo for Publication or Presentation Purposes 2015This post was authored by Tyler J. Gluckman, MD, FACC, a presenter at HIMSS16.

Just weeks after the ACC was in Las Vegas for the 2016 Cardiovascular Summit, thousands of health information technology (IT) experts came together in the same city for the 2016 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Conference (HIMSS16). The conference focused on how technology is being used to improve health and was a stage for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and other government agencies to announce policies that will shape the future of health IT.

At HIMSS16, the ACC took part in the HIMSS Interoperability Showcase, an area dedicated to innovations in interoperability. The ACC has been a longtime advocate for interoperability, which describes how effectively clinical data can move between different participants, both human and technological, in the care delivery chain. The College was able to highlight its work in this space – from Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise efforts to using NCDR registries to enable interoperability – during presentations by ACC members and staff in the Interoperability Showcase. Continue reading

Make Your EHR Work For You

Photo for Publication or Presentation Purposes 2015This post was authored by Tyler J. Gluckman, MD, FACC, presenter at the 2016 Cardiovascular Summit.

We all know that electronic health record (EHR)/electronic medical record (EMR) systems are ubiquitous, largely because of the federal EHR Incentive Program and efforts to be compliant with requirements defined by Meaningful Use. While EHRs/EMRs offer improved access to patient data, improved opportunities to deliver better preventative health care and more robust methods to record charges, innumerable challenges have come about with their implementation. Continue reading

Find Your Heart a Home

DEHMER_BOT_2010This post was authored by Gregory J. Dehmer, MD, MACC, chair of the NCDR Public Reporting Advisory Group.

In this era of health care transparency, patients and their families want access to credible information about quality of care to help them make informed decisions. Recognizing this trend, the ACC spent several years developing a program to bring important information about the quality of care provided at NCDR hospitals to the public. In addition to empowering patients to take an active role in their care decisions, ACC’s public reporting program, which U.S. News and World Report called an “initial step towards transformational transparency,” incentivizes clinicians and health care organizations to improve quality of care. Continue reading

Advocating for Cardiology in the Nation’s Capital

The ACC’s 2015 Legislative Conference is in full swing in Washington, DC. The conference kicked off on Sunday night with a special ACC Political Action Committee-sponsored reception and dinner featuring remarks from Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist, political commentator and psychiatrist Charles Krauthammer, MD. In the midst of a unique congressional climate, Krauthammer shared an insider’s perspective into the state of politics in Washington and the 2016 presidential election.

Today, a full lineup of sessions armed more than 400 attendees with the information needed to effect change in their states and on Capitol Hill. While it’s important for attendees to understand the health policy landscape every year, it’s more important than ever in 2015. Recent developments, including repeal of the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) by enactment of the Medicare Access and CHIP Authorization Act of 2015, release of new Meaningful Use regulations and ICD-10 implementation, have significantly shifted how health care is delivered, resulting in novel challenges and opportunities. Continue reading

National Health IT Week: Why Interoperability Matters

1_Tcheng_photo1This post was authored by James E. Tcheng, MD, FACC, chair of the ACC’s Informatics and Health Information Technology Task Force.

National Health IT Week, Oct. 5-9, is an opportunity to discuss how advancing the adoption and use of health information technology (IT) can help improve patient care. Comprehensive health care reform is not possible without system-wide adoption of health IT. Health IT potentially improves the quality of health care delivery, increases patient safety, decreases medical errors and strengthens the interaction between patients and health care providers.

As part of its dedication to health IT, the ACC is working to advance health informatics, a growing field of health care about all things having to do with data and information flowing through the health care ecosystem. One of ACC’s primary health informatics priorities is promoting and advocating for data standards and interoperability across the health care spectrum. Continue reading

Population Health and Primary Prevention in the Spotlight

MartinThis post was authored by Gerard R. Martin, MD, FACC, chair of the ACC’s Population Health Policy and Health Promotion Committee.

We’re currently at a crossroads of health care delivery and health promotion. Up until now, we, as cardiovascular professionals, have been laser focused on secondary prevention, only scraping the surface of primary prevention. While technological and educational advances over the last few decades have resulted in a significant reduction of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the U.S., the burden of CVD is set to increase 57 percent by 2020 worldwide.

To adjust to this new landscape, we must shift the paradigm from treatment to prevention and begin moving towards population health if we want to kick CVD off the list as the world’s #1 killer. This is no easy task. Population health – which is at a complex intersection between an increasingly diverse population, an evolving health care system, traditional public health and elaborate social policies – is not easy to define. I can guarantee that each and every one of us has a different perspective on the topic, making it difficult to come to a consensus on how best to move forward. Continue reading

ACC on Capitol Hill: Health Information Blocking is a Threat to Patients and Practices

MIrroThis post was authored by Michael J. Mirro, MD, FACC, a member of the ACC’s Informatics and Health Information Technology Task Force.

Today, I had the opportunity to testify on Capitol Hill about the important issue of health information blocking, unforeseen problems that have been created by electronic health records (EHRs), and possible solutions to help improve care during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing titled “Achieving the Promise of Health Information Technology: Information Blocking and Potential Solutions.”

This spring, Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) announced their aim to accomplish five items related to interoperability of EHRs, including health information blocking, by the end of the year—whether through legislative means or an administrative fix. To accomplish this goal, the Senate HELP Committee has been hard at work soliciting feedback from stakeholder organizations, including the ACC, to help them pave a path forward. Continue reading

Advancing Health IT and Improving Patient Care

The ACC Informatics and Health Information Technology Task Force is charged with the infusion, coordination and harmonization of informatics and health information technology (HIT) into the activities and policies of the College. While Task Force members hail from across the U.S., they are united in their dedication to facilitating, promoting and accelerating the transformation of quality cardiovascular care. These members are hard at work addressing data interoperability, promoting electronic health record (EHR) adoption, coordinating EHR vendor engagement, developing tools and strategies to improve the operational efficiencies and effectiveness of ACC registries, and providing leadership and outreach to internal and external organizations. Continue reading

Is Your Electronic Health Record Working For You and Your Patients?

Shor HeadshotA recent New York Times article titled “Tech Rivalries Impede Digital Medical Record Sharing” addresses a critical issue for medicine – data blocking. In addition to high fees charged by some vendors for access to records, a lack of consistency in file formats among vendors prevents electronic medical records from meeting their potential to improve patient care.

Different electronic medical record vendors collect data in varying formats, making it difficult to share information without additional data entry and creating gaps that reduce the value of the health records to doctors and patients. If the issues of exorbitant fees and consistency across platforms are not addressed, electronic medical records will unfortunately be an added burden that does not meet its huge potential for advancing the quality of medical care in this nation.     Continue reading

World Health Assembly: A Time For Renewed Commitment to Reducing NCDs

This post was authored by John Gordon Harold, MD, MACC, former ACC President.

This week, I have the privilege to be part of the delegation representing the ACC in Geneva, Switzerland, at the 68th session of the World Health Assembly where officials from 194 Member States are reviewing the World Health Organization’s (WHO) activities over the past year and setting new priorities for the future.

The main functions of the World Health Assembly under the auspices of the United Nations (UN) are to determine the policies of the WHO and focus on critical topics in global health. (In fact, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who now presides over the G-7, kicked off today’s plenary session speaking to the challenges of this very subject.) The assembly will focus on ongoing efforts to lower the number of patients with non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including cardiovascular disease. NCDs cause 63 percent of global death, with cardiovascular disease making up the highest proportion, yet receive disproportionately small funding from global aid networks – less than 1.3 percent by most recent estimates.  Worldwide, 80 percent of death from NCDs are in low and middle-income countries. Left unchecked, it is estimated that NCDs will be responsible for 73 percent of all deaths by 2020. Yet, so many of these deaths are preventable through education and a focus on closing gaps in care across populations.  (For more on this topic, see the ACC in Touch Blog from the landmark 2011 UN Summit on NCDs.) Continue reading