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e-News | October 2017

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Quality Forum Announces New Board Members

10 17 new boardThe Quality Forum has named new members to its Board of Directors. From left, they include Michael Fleming, MD, FAAP (Principal, Fleming Advisors); Ruth Kennedy (Health Policy Director, Southern Strategy Group); and Cheryl Tolbert (CEO, Louisiana Business Group on Health). “We are pleased to welcome these individuals to our board. Collectively, their expert insights and counsel will be invaluable to the group,” stated Cindy Munn, CEO. “I would also like to recognize Dr. Fleming’s commitment to the Quality Forum. As one of the organization’s founding members and its first Board President, he offers a unique perspective and his return to the board is truly appreciated.”

Connect Louisiana: Health IT in Louisiana

10 17 Connect LouisianaKaren DeSalvo, MD (left) and Vindell Washington, MD (right), discussed the past, present and future of health IT during the closing keynote address at the Connect Louisiana Symposium in early October. Presented by the Louisiana Chapter of Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society and the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH), the daylong event in Baton Rouge was designed as a statewide discussion related to achievement of better health through IT. Drs. DeSalvo and Washington have both served as Board Presidents of the Quality Forum and have led the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC).

EHR System Implementation Continues

10 17 EHR System ImplementationRepresentatives from the Quality Forum and the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections (DPS&C) are continuing work together to implement and integrate a certified EHR system for the DPS&C headquarters, seven state correctional facilities and more than 30 eligible providers. One of the workgroups met recently at the Quality Forum office to begin mapping paper forms to the new EHRs. Pictured clockwise, from left: Quality Forum team members Michelle Jewell, Michelle Story and Crystal White with DPS&C representatives Tonya Stelly and John F. Prejean, Jr., MD.

Update: Website

10 17 HealthITgov – the official website of the ONC – is being updated to bring it up to speed with technology and to comply with federal regulations. The redesigned website will feature topic-based navigation, responsive design and an activity log of ONC releases, blog posts and other work products on the homepage. While the new site is under development and in the beta stage, the current website will serve as the sole source of ONC-related information.

09 17 News Notes

The Quality Forum received a proclamation from Gov. John Bel Edwards officially recognizing Oct. 2-6, 2017, as National Health IT Week in Louisiana. A letter to the editor, contributed by CEO Cindy Munn, regarding this special awareness week appeared in The Town Talk on Oct. 1 and The Ouachita Citizen on Oct. 4. The Quality Forum, along with hundreds of organizations and groups across the country, mark this week annually to demonstrate the value of health IT and its benefits for U.S. health care and health care delivery.

The Quality Forum congratulates Karen DeSalvo, MD, MPH, MSc (founding Board Member, former Board President and former Acting Assistant Secretary for Health with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) and Rebekah Gee, MD, MPH, FACOG (Secretary of LDH) for their recent election to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM). Election to the Academy is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service.

Board Member David Carmouche, MD (President of Ochsner Health Network and Senior Vice President of Ochsner Health System), has been recognized by Becker’s Hospital Review as one of the “Physician Leaders of Hospitals and Health Systems to Know” for 2017. Dr. Carmouche was also recently featured by U.S. News in "Ochsner's David Carmouche: Population Health and Top-Quality Care.”

The National POLST Paradigm congratulated the Louisiana Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment (LaPOST) program in their September newsletter for receiving additional funding to educate long-term care staff, residents, caregivers and families about advance care planning and the LaPOST document. The 2018 funding is provided by a grant from the LDH, using Civil Money Penalties paid into the Nursing Home Residents’ Trust Fund.

Views from Past Board Presidents:
Vindell Washington, MD, MHCM, FACEP, Chief Medical Officer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana

10 17 Vindell Washington MDDr. Vindell Washington, a long-time proponent of health IT, was the Quality Forum’s fourth Board President. In the organization’s early years, he also chaired the Health IT Committee. Dr. Washington has served as Chief Medical Information Officer (CMIO) for the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System in Baton Rouge as well as president of its medical group. In these roles, he was instrumental in the health system’s adoption of EHRs. He then led the ONC in Washington, D.C. In June 2017, Dr. Washington joined Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana as Chief Medical Officer. Earlier this year, he shared his thoughts about where health IT is headed on a national level in the next few years.

"Today, almost all hospitals and health systems and nearly 80 percent of the office-based physician practices have EHRs. Eight years ago, 10 percent of the hospitals and less than one quarter of the physician offices had this technology. The transition has been remarkable, but it’s still early – many of these providers and organizations have adopted these technologies within the past five years. In process re-engineering terms, this represents a beginning, not a conclusion. The work over the next three to five years will be to harness the power of the information, to deploy best practices more efficiently and to provide safer, more efficient care. The potential value of this transformation is also hampered by poor information sharing; too much information blocking between data systems occurs today.

I think technology will continue to improve the provider experience. Physicians and nurses spend too much time today entering data into information systems that do not provide enough value in return. Fortunately, many information system providers and innovators, both large and small, are working in this space. I saw many technologies capable of revolutionizing the provider and patient experience in development during my time as National Coordinator that will likely be deployed in the near future. These innovations will lead to extraordinary clinical insight and positively affect the health of our population.

Payment policies are also important. The bundled payment initiatives for hospitals, for example, have shown promise in bending the cost curve, increasing care quality and rewarding providers for the effort. I believe we will continue to make progress in this space as the technology allows us to analyze, target and improve care in virtuous cycles. I think we will see continued innovation in ways to pay for the value of care, rather than simply the volume of services provided."

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