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As we enter the second decade of the 21st century, our experts weigh in on the year ahead in healthcare technology. Editor’s note: This is part two of a two-part series that began last month.

ACOs, EHR implementation and integration, social media, ICD-10, the cloud, digital image management and meaningful use are just some of the hot-button topics our panel members ad- dress as they consider the next 12 months in healthcare IT.

By George Schwend, CEO, Health Language Problem lists: No problem

The spotlight will be on compliance with Stage 1 meaningful-use (MU) criteria. One of the key components of compliance is the up-to-date problem list (UTDPL) based on SNOMED CT, or the more commonly implemented ICD-9-CM. However, many providers, already frustrated with inputting diagnoses and therapies using ICD-9-CM codes intended for billing purposes and not patient care, are resisting the inevitability of UTDPLs. Yet without standardized, accurate data capture, the goal of meaningful use – coordinated care – will continue to elude the industry.


By Jeff Surges, CEO, Merge Healthcare Comprehensive image exchange

Image exchange is challenging. Diagnostic images are large – a cardiac cath fi le is the same size as the video fi le for the movie “Titanic.” Organizations use products from multiple vendors, each to address a specifi c business or clinical need, and some vendors do not adhere to standard image formats. Many systems do not allow simultaneous review of images and reports, or enable access to current and prior images. Across institutions, geography and systems, it can be diffi cult to reconcile unique patient identifi ers and to align numerous reports and images associated with a patient. The time is now for healthcare to leverage successful federated data models (banking’s ATMs, for example)

or enable 16 February 2011

Hospitals seeking to increase physician engagement will turn to provider-friendly terminology (PFT) and embedded tools to simplify the process of creating and updating problem lists. PFT consists of a set of problems and procedures mapped to standards such as SNOMED CT, ICD-9-CM and the upcoming ICD-10-CM that can be embedded in EHRs. This mapping ensures correct reimbursement and supports MU’s quality-performance requirements.

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PFT also facilitates the codifi cation and mapping of clinical free text to the appropriate codes, which allows providers to continue documenting care in their preferred manner and maintain their workfl ow and productivity. Therefore, hospitals will increasingly incorporate PFT to create physician buy-in on UTDPLs.

PFT also

and network design (the Internet) and create exchanges that allow EMRs, HIEs and PHRs to access diagnostic content and results from any location without moving data. We should empower patients, providers and payers to manage the total healthcare experience from computers, mobile devices and new types of access points (kiosks). Organizations should leverage current investments by using existing systems and applications and build incrementally toward a fully interoperable exchange. Organizations should

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adopt the newest in Web-based technologies and leverage interoperability standards (HL7, DICOM, Web services and XDS). Entities such as Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) bring value (check out the IHE Interoperability Showcase at HIMSS). Essentially, IHE investigates business problems in healthcare and then provides international standards as a “guidebook.”


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