The Disease Management Care Blog went to the Aspen Institute's "Reinventing Health Care: The Barriers to Innovation" conference in D.C. While the conference and the accompanying report that was riddled with the usual uncritical nostrums on health IT, integrated delivery systems, misaligned incentives and the role of government, the DMCB came away with a few good insights.
The better part of the conference dealt with a series of recommendations on "accessing health information." Among the better ones:
1. Data transfer among systems should be "open-sourced." For too long, trapping doctors and patients alike in "walled gardens" that are based on proprietary systems has been an under recognized value proposition of the commercial EHRs. Kudos to Aspen for pointing this out and recognizing that free and collaborative data sharing will level the consumer-provider playing field.
2. Movement of information from proprietary EHRs to consumer PHRs should be seamless and automatic. If individuals are the ultimate custodians of medical information, the data should a) follow you wherever you go and 2) be under your control. The DMCB spouse recently changed doctors and had to ask to have her records transferred on paper. Duh!
3. EHR "success" should also be based on how well it eases provider workloads and increases productivity. Busywork is a common physician lament about EHRs. It's time to recognize that it exists, measure it and work toward improvement. Should this be a new HEDIS measure? It is time for "meaningful use" address this?
4. Embrace the ePatient movement. It's a good thing when organizations like Aspen agree with the DMCB. Better late than never.
5. Health portals should be "fun." While the fussbudgets that populate the health leadership positions can only wonder at at the emerging role of "gaming" in consumer IT, there's a reason why many patients don't log onto your organizations' yawnfest web sites. Not only are they tedious, they're b-o-r-i-n-g!
While not an Aspen recommendation, there was also an insightful comment by panelist Brent Parton of SHOUTAmerica on the parallels between restaurant and health consumer "apps." There are the "expert" restaurant ratings services like Michelin and then there is consumerist Yelp. Rather than "either-or," it turns out both are important consumer apps because each brings a different perspective. While doctors and hospitals may prefer a Michelin-style system, Yelp-like ratings are here to stay. Brent's message: health systems and providers need to learn to live with it.