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e-News | February 2015

e-News | Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum - January 2015

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Quality Forum Announces Consumer Advisory Council Members

The Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum has assembled a 13-person panel representing non-profit organizations from across the state that value the importance of improving the quality of health care for patients and families in Louisiana.
The formation of the group coincides with the launch of the Quality Forum’s consumer outreach campaign, a partnership with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH), which hopes to advance consumer knowledge and awareness of health information technology (IT) tools and resources and to encourage patients to become more active in their health care.
The Consumer Advisory Council will help guide educational tool development on behalf of health care consumers, but also relative to their specific interests.
Quality Forum CEO Cindy Munn says, “Each organization represented on our council has made great contributions to the communities they serve while advancing the causes they stand for. We look forward to working with them in a joint effort to educate patients and consumers across Louisiana about the progress our state has made toward integrating health IT into the clinical care setting and how this technology works to improve their health care experience.”
The Council consists of the following representatives and their organizations:
  • Renee Amar, Louisiana Association of Business & Industry (statewide)
  • Anastasia Armstrong, National Alliance on Mental Illness – Southwest Louisiana Chapter (Lake Charles)
  • Dr. Lynn Clark, Children’s Coalition of Northeast Louisiana (Monroe)
  • John Guzzardo, American Diabetes Association – Louisiana (statewide)
  • Dr. Brenda Hatfield, AARP – Louisiana (statewide)
  • David Hylan, Deaf Action Center (Shreveport)
  • D’ McCoy, Community Healthcare Education Network (Shreveport)
  • Julia Mora-Guillot, American Heart Association – Baton Rouge
  • Julie Nesbit, Louisiana Assistive Technology Access Network (Baton Rouge)
  • Fred Sibley, Louisiana Men’s Health Organization (Baton Rouge)
  • Tammy Swindle, Cancer Association of Greater New Orleans
  • Jamie Tindle, Families Helping Families of Greater Baton Rouge
  • Kelly Hutson Viator, Louisiana Respite Coalition
To learn more about the Quality Forum and its initiatives, click here.

Open Registration For LaHIE/TexLA Telehealth Seminar

The Louisiana Health Information Exchange (LaHIE) has partnered with the TexLa Telehealth Resource Center (TRC) to host a seminar this week to educate health care providers on incorporating telehealth into their clinical practices.

The project is supported by a grant issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and is sponsored by the TexLa TRC, the Louisiana Rural Health Information Exchange (LaRHIX) and the Quality Forum.

Lonnie Dufour, Project Coordinator for TexLa and Director of Client Services for the Louisiana Health Information Exchange, will also provide an update on LaHIE as well as other Quality Forum initiatives. In addition, LaRHIX will do a mock telehealth consult showcasing the benefit and ease of conducting them.

The seminar will be held February 26 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the P&N Conference Room, 10th floor, located at 8550 United Plaza Blvd. Registration is required in order to participate.

For more information or to register, contact Lonnie DuFour at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

LaPOST Online Training Available For Health Care Professionals

Health care professionals seeking to broaden their knowledge on advance care planning can register for virtual training through the Louisiana Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment (LaPOST) website.
The web-based video series, entitled “Conversations Change Lives,” offers a thorough introduction to advance care planning and explains the purpose of and how to complete the LaPOST document.
The videos are hosted by LaPOST Coalition Chair Susan Nelson, MD.
Each of the four videos is followed by several questions that review concepts and information presented during the lesson. A certificate is issued to participants who successfully complete the training.
Visit and click on the “e-Learning” icon under “Quick Links” to register for the training.
In addition to the video series, LaPOST is working to develop an online store where an informational DVD for health care professionals as well as consumer handbooks on advance care planning will be available for purchase. More information about the store will be provided in our March news edition.

HIE, Population Health Webinar Registration

eHealth Initiative and Orion Health are hosting a webinar next month focused on ways to leverage health information exchanges (HIEs) to better manage population health.
The 90-minute discussion, entitled “Enabling Healthier Populations with Health Information Exchange,” will also examine challenges to establishing widespread HIE. Brian Richmond, Chief Technology Officer of the Quality Forum, will serve as the featured speaker.
The webinar will be held March 5 from 1-2:30 PM EST. For more information or to register, click here.

Health IT Experts Discuss Trends, Challenges During ONC Annual Meeting

Quality Forum staff were among the estimated 1,200 health information technology (IT) professionals who assembled in Washington, DC, for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) Annual Meeting Feb. 2-3.
Attendees heard and participated in panel discussions with top health IT officials and advocates on the challenges facing the industry, such as care delivery, population health and interoperability, as well as methods for overcoming them.
ONC National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo, MD, opened the two-day event with a welcome address and provided commentary for multiple sessions, including a sit-down with all former ONC National Coordinators and a detailed look at the recently released Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap.
The usage of big data and patient health information to tackle public health crises was another hot topic on the agenda. A panel of physicians acknowledged the fact that some providers are often hesitant to use health IT out of fears over privacy and security. Wen Dombrowski, MD, MBA, expressed that there’s a “big gap between the technology that’s available to us and how we’re using it.”
Annie Fine, MD, also pointed out need for better, more specific data collection in electronic health records (EHRs) to address health care needs in underserved communities, saying, "Just a few critical data points that would be standardized would help us be so much more effective.”
For more information about the ONC Annual Meeting, click here.

ONC Issues Plan For Nationwide Health IT Interoperability

ONC has released a 10-year guideline aimed at improving the availability and use of electronic health information to support quality measurement, increase consumer satisfaction and to improve health care delivery and outcomes.
The first draft of the Shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap is an extension of the 10-year vision plan ONC released last year. It is divided into benchmarks for the three-, six- and ten-year time frames. Officials say it focuses on actions that will enable providers and players across the health care system to send, receive and use a common set of electronic health data on a national scale by 2017.
ONC National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo, MD, stresses that achieving interoperable health IT requires work in three critical pathways: requiring standards, motivating the use of those standards through incentives and creating a trusted environment for the collection and transference of electronic health information.
“It is only through everyone’s combined efforts that we will achieve a learning health system that brings real value to electronic health information as a means to better care, wiser spending, and healthier people,” said DeSalvo.
ONC is accepting public comments and feedback on the Roadmap draft through April 3. Officials expect to release an updated version later this year.
For more information about the Interoperability Roadmap, click here.

Study: Ineffective End-of-Life Care Conversations Hinder Patient Care

As more facilities incorporate end-of-life care practices into their clinical work, a recent study has revealed some troubling figures regarding some patients who received such care.
The study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, polled more than 7,000 U.S. residents age 51 and older. Researchers measured their pain intensity and found that rates of pain increased by nearly 12 percent for patients in the final year of their lives, between 1998 and 2010. Rates of depression also increased by more than 26 percent.
Experts in a separate study help to explain those figures, suggesting that inadequate conversations about end-of-life care among doctors, patients and their families may be responsible.
After surveying clinical staff from multiple hospitals, they found that patients and families often impede these discussions by struggling to accept an unfavorable diagnosis, failing to agree on care goals or by failing to understand the available treatment options. The same study also reported that more than 60 percent of health care providers polled had no formal training in discussing goals of care with critically ill patients and their families.
"We need training and tools that enable us to navigate--in a sensitive and compassionate manner--the sometimes difficult discussions in which we help patients and families cope with a poor prognosis, understand what is important to them, and focus on the things we can do to support these goals," said researcher John You, M.D.
To learn more about the research, click here.

FYI: Mindy Estave

As a Project Coordinator for the Quality Forum, Mindy Estave supports operations within the organization by conducting various human resource and departmental activities.
She previously served as a Recruiter for Baton Rouge General, where she was responsible for conducting interviews and working with management on hiring decisions and salary negotiations for new employees.
Mindy joined the Quality Forum in July 2014.

      • McKnight’s Long Term Care News published an article on its State News for January 2015 page about the state integrating the LaPOST document into the MDS assessment for nursing homes. Read it here.

      • The Creole, an online newspaper in Ascension Parish, published a photo of Quality Forum CEO Cindy Munn after she addressed the Gonzales Rotary Club during their regular meeting Jan. 20. See it here.

      • The Gonzales Weekly Citizen also published an article Jan. 21 about Munn’s presentation. Read it here.

      • published an article Jan. 28 announcing that Craig Doyle has been named vice president and chief information officer of St. Tammany Hospital in Covington. Doyle has served on the Quality Forum’s health IT committee since 2010. Read the article here.
      • The Quality Forum is mentioned in an interview published Feb. 3 by MedPage with National Coordinator for Health IT Karen DeSalvo, MD. DeSalvo is a founding member and former board president of the Quality Forum. Read the article here.
      • The Quality Forum is also mentioned in a bio for Karen DeSalvo, posted by Federal News Radio. Host Michael Keegan interviewed DeSalvo Jan. 23, where she discussed health IT and how it can transform health care nationwide. To hear the interview or to read the bio, click here.

      • CNN Money posted an article Feb. 9 announcing that Wellspring Advisor Group, LLC, a financial advisory firm headed by John Carroll, would join LPL Financial. Carroll currently serves as president-elect of the Quality Forum board. Read the article here.

      e-News aims to bring you a monthly summary of news about the Forum, its initiatives and related topics as we work together to shape health care in Louisiana. Your comments regarding current stories as well as ideas for future content are appreciated. Please address your feedback to Jill Washington at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..