Health IT challenges aplenty, but projects promise new era

Sara Berg
Senior Staff Writer
AMA Wire
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Here are six of the most popular and relevant health IT stories covered by AMA Wire® in 2017.

Platform helps physicians, entrepreneurs meet their match. Integrating the physician voice into digital health solutions is critical to developing solutions that work for patients and doctors. The AMA is doing just that through the Physician Innovation Network, an online platform designed to bring physicians and health tech companies together to develop and improve health care technology solutions.

New project has long-term goal: Unleash new era of patient care. The health data available to physicians and health systems are often not enough to provide a complete picture of each patient. For example, information about an asthma patient’s family support, goals, risk factors and lifestyle can make all the difference when it comes to designing the optimal treatment plan that allows the patient to take an active role in their care and achieve better outcomes. This patient-contributed data could also relieve some of the data-entry burden borne by the health care team.

A new AMA project, the Integrated Health Model Initiative™, is a platform for bringing together the health and technology sectors around a common data model that is missing in health care. IHMI fills the national imperative to pioneer a shared framework for organizing health data, emphasizing patient-centric information and refining data elements to those most predictive of achieving better outcomes.

Editor's note: This story is part of a new topic hub that centralizes the AMA’s essential tools, resources and content to help you in Reinventing Medical Practice. Explore other Medical Topics That Matter.

Where telemedicine has been, where it’s headed. Telemedicine can speed diagnoses, increase access to care for remote populations, reduce health care costs and even relieve physician shortages. Experts discuss what technology has accomplished and what still needs to happen to take it to the next level.

Family doctors spend 86 minutes of “pajama time” with EHRs nightly. A study using electronic health record (EHR) system event-logging data to track family physicians’ workdays found that primary care physicians spend more than half of their work day interacting with the EHR—with nearly a quarter of that computer work happening after clinic hours. Yet, physician experts argue, a big chunk of the administrative work family physicians and other doctors do on EHRs could be properly delegated to other members of the practice team.

Copy, paste, repeat: Widespread EHR practice could undermine care. The management of EHRs has become one of the greatest administrative challenges facing physicians today. The volume of patient data is such, said one researcher, that if one were to print out all of the documentation in a single electronic patient record the result would be a stack the size of a late Hemingway novel.

EHR safety concerns uncovered, addressed with daily huddle. Faced with the daunting challenge of opening a new hospital and simultaneously going live with a new EHR system in 2013, the leaders of Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in College Station, Texas, created a daily “safety huddle” involving dozens of representatives from nearly all clinical and other areas of the facility. The meetings helped bring to the fore EHR-related quality and safety concerns that could be rapidly addressed to protect patients. Learn more about implementing team huddles with this AMA STEPS Forward™ module.

To ensure new digital health solutions facilitate effective care and relationships between patients and physicians, the AMA brings the physician voice to innovators and entrepreneurs. By recognizing the key challenges physicians face when implementing health IT and the increase of direct-to-consumer digital health apps, the AMA aims to help physicians navigate and maximize technology for improved patient care and professional satisfaction.

The AMA is focused on influencing health IT with the goal of enhancing patient-centered care, improving health outcomes and accelerating progress in health care.

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Nov 13, 2018
Doctor paperwork does not affect all physicians equally. Find out how much time your physician colleagues spend on administrative tasks, and learn how to ease the burden.