Industry leaders identify movers and shakers to watch in 2007

Read Article: Healthcare IT News

By  Bernie Monegain, Editor 01/03/07

Since President Bush mentioned the electronic medical record in his 2004 State of the Union Address, the concept of automating healthcare has become part of everyday talk. A concept that may have seemed abstract to many just three years ago seems complex, but doable today.

It won’t be that simple or quick, of course, to transform a behemoth into a smart, new machine, industry insiders say. But, there are plenty of movers and shakers doing their part.

Healthcare IT News asked a few of these leaders to identify who – besides themselves – would likely influence healthcare IT initiatives in 2007. Who is worth watching?

Some familiar names – and initiatives – emerged.

William F. Jessee, MD, president and CEO of the Medical Group Management Association, predicts there will be a flock of players in the personal health records space. He mentioned the recent launch of Dossia by a coalition of employers led by Intel, followed by a similar announcement from America’s Health Insurance Plans and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Jessee expects ICW, a German company, to make a splash in the U.S. market in 2007 with its LifeSensor PHR, a product he says is already well proven in Europe.

“What is new in all this,” said Jessee, “is the idea of encouraging consumers to create their own PHR as a ‘pull-through’ strategy to get more physicians to use EHRs that can interface with those PHRs. Unfortunately, Dossia is more of a concept than a product at this point, but it demonstrates the kind of large corporate investments that I think we are likely to see more of in 2007.”

Concept or product, the prospect of Dossia was enough to put Intel Chairman Craig Barrett on Jeffrey Hill’s list of potentially top influencers for 2007. Hill is CEO of Anceta, a subsidiary of the American Medical Group Association. Hill admires Barrett for taking the lead on personal health records.

“He’s not going to sit and wait until it all gets fixed,” he said.

The AMGA itself is not sitting still, having charged Anceta with gathering data from its membership of more than 300 large multi-specialty groups for comparison and analysis.

Hill credits Donald W. Fisher, AMGA president and CEO, with the vision to get the comparative data project launched and for creating a direction for other critical initiatives, such as CAPP, the Council of Accountable Physician Practices, which promotes a model of care focused on performance, efficiency, use of electronic clinical systems and results-based reimbursement.

“He’s the one who is tying all these things together,” Hill said,

Hill expects continued accomplishments on the healthcare IT front from Janet Marchibroda, CEO of eHealth Initiative. Marchibroda has been brilliant at pulling together all the different factions that – together – can transform healthcare, he said.

Francois de Brantes, from GE who, as head of Bridges to Excellence, has dedicated himself to effecting change, is on Hill’s movers and shakers list, too. de Brantes is developing a model of pay for performance and “trying to get his hands on data in the real world,” Hill said.

Donald Mon, vice president of practice leadership at the American Health Information Management Association will be watching who fills top positions at JCAHO (the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations) and Health Level 7, a standards development organization.

Mon is also keeping his eye on Robert Kolodner, MD, the nation’s interim healthcare IT chief. If he stays in the position, he could have broad influence.

Carolyn Clancy is director of the government’s American Healthcare Research and Quality. It will be interesting to see how she leads the AHIC (American Health Information Community) quality work group, Mon said, and what AHRQ does to advance quality reporting across the country.

Mark Leavitt, MD, chairman of the Certification Commission on Healthcare Information Technology, is another leader expected to accomplish great things, Mon indicated. He noted that Leavitt has deftly handled the process of certifying ambulatory EHRs. Now Leavitt faces new challenges as the commission begins certifying network components and specialty areas.

On the project front, Jessee of the MGMA predicts that hospitals are finally about to turn the corner on their IT investments. “Many of them have been in the selection/development mode, and more are going to transition into an operational mode in 2007,” he said. “So the stars will be those organizations and vendors that have done a good job of preparing to throw the switch – and the horror stories will be those that haven’t.

“The number of stories – both successes and failures – will really take an upswing in 2007 as more and more systems come online.”



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