Signing Off From Baltimore and the 2013 State Healthcare IT Connect Summit, May 21-22

Date: May 30, 2013||   0  Comments

The State Healthcare IT Connect Summit wrapped up its 4th year of connecting over 300 leading health IT strategists and policy makers this week in Baltimore, Maryland. After two days of exchanging ideas on diverse topics surrounding the implementation of reform and the State IT systems required to support reform efforts, in back-to-back keynotes, panels, roundtables, networking events and more the main take away is connectivity, quality and moving forward all together.

“It’s not just the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements, with it has also come our expectations about the way we manage our lives and our health care system… retrenching is not an option,” said Doug Porter, Senior VP and CIO for Blue Cross Blue Shield Association during his keynote speech Wednesday morning.

Tucked inside every single aspect of a reforming health care system is IT. It’s in sharing a patient’s vital information and critical data between interoperable hospitals and clinics. It’s in Medicaid eligibility process, to which John Supra, Deputy Director and CIO of South Carolina’s DHHS and panelist at the Summit said, “Medicaid eligibility is a fine art for South Carolina health care professionals” who are currently working through Phase1 of ACA reform and making the switch from paper without losing their art or integrity.

IT is in nationwide patient care, questioning, testing, logging, evaluating, payment processes, patient protection and more involved with health care. This year’s Summit discussed solutions to all of these issues. The general consensus from the Summit was that it all boils down to “out with the old and in with the new” – now! Professionals mentioned multiple times during the Summit that this reform is quickly RE-forming the way Americas must understand health care and the way physicians, technologists, assistants, officers and executives must do their jobs.

Day 1 of the Summit, opening keynote speaker Sean Cavanaugh, Deputy Director, CMS Innovation Center emphasized the undeniable importance of learning in fusion and moving forward together, as well. In his speech, Cavanaugh spoke of the newness of it all, as with Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and the necessity of a working environment where ACOs move together; spend time together to talk about results, data and ideas in order to have a successful model.

Cris Ross, Chief Information Officer at Mayo Clinic and Board Member of the Care Connectivity Consortium took the floor as keynote speaker to talk about health care information exchange (HIE). He demonstrated successful Health IT solutions are available and being used for HIE to enable the exchange of information from patients to physicians, then to clinics and hospitals, and then to research analysts and back again to the American public. Ross emphasized that these HIE solutions enable an applied “practical essence” that can connect health care exchange between all 50 states.

Multiple breakout sessions with panels from across the United States discussed tight ACA deadlines and the enormity and complexity of work that is currently upon health care teams. Each state is preparing for the launch of a successful new health care system and marketplace, each in a different phase of reform and each dealing with unique state complexities, but all are reaching toward the same goal. Sonny Bhagowalia, CIO for the State of Hawaii shared the steps Hawaii is taking to update out-of-date state IT systems. It’s an enormous and expensive challenge, but like many states, Hawaii found itself in the middle of the reform process, approaching deadlines and desperately needing to modernize it’s IT processes.

For many professionals such as James Wadleigh, CIO, Connecticut Heath Insurance Exchange who is diligently working with teams on a bold State-based Insurance marketplace model, “a day equates to a week and a week equates to a month for learning challenges.” Fortunately Health IT reform is made possible by the collaboration and solutions coming from industry professionals.

Healthcare IT Connect hosted a successful Summit this year and would like to thank all sponsors, speakers and participants both on and off line for their attendance and dedication to the alignment of Health IT, delivery system transformation and primary care transformation. If you are interested in watching recorded excerpts from the 2013 State Healthcare IT Connect Summit, please register at:

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