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e-News | September 2017

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National Health Information Technology (IT) Week News

09 17 NHIT week enews header Oct 2017The Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum will partner with hundreds of organizations across the country in support of National Health IT Week, Oct. 2-6, 2017. Initiated in 2006 by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) and the Institute for e-Health Policy, the week focuses on health IT and promotes the benefits that it brings to U.S. health care in several distinct ways: supporting health care transformation; expanding access to high quality care; increasing economic opportunity; and making communities healthier.

The Louisiana Chapter of HIMSS has organized a special event for Tuesday, Oct. 3. Connect Louisiana Day is the Louisiana Department of Health’s second annual symposium and will feature a keynote address from Karen DeSalvo, MD, and Vindell Washington, MD. Both have served as past board presidents for the Quality Forum and have led the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). The morning session will run from 10 a.m. to noon, and the afternoon session is scheduled for 1-5:30 p.m. at the Old State Capitol Building in Baton Rouge.

HIMSS is sponsoring a National Health IT Week webinar entitled, “Health IT Infrastructure: Supporting 21st Century Healthcare,” also on Oct. 3 at 1 p.m. (CT). This virtual discussion will explore the nation’s infrastructure needs from the health IT perspective. The panel of speakers will share views on infrastructure as they relate to public and population health; workforce and economic opportunity; broadband; and other policy-related efforts.

Presentation Documents “Pathways to Convergence”

09 17 dr nelson poster v2Susan Nelson, MD, Louisiana Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment (LaPOST) Coalition Chair, presented a project poster to approximately 300 attendees at the International Society of Advance Care Planning and End of Life Care Conference in Banff, Alberta, on Sept. 6-7. The poster depicted the key findings of a special project – Pathways to Convergence – that examined diverging and converging views among Catholics in the U.S. regarding palliative care and advance care planning. The project was convened by the Center for Practical Bioethics with the support of The Pew Charitable Trusts. Dr. Nelson was among a small group of Catholic thought leaders offering clinical, clerical, ethical and theological perspectives to identify common values and principles. The purpose was to clarify interpretations in end-of-life care that currently exist among Catholics and the public realm. “The resulting report summarizes the workgroup’s primary themes and discussion points. We hope that it serves as a catalyst for ongoing dialogue within and outside the Catholic Church about the importance of advancing compassionate palliative care and end-of-life care,” noted Dr. Nelson. For information about advance care planning and LaPOST for health care professionals and consumers, please visit the LaPOST website.

TeleHealth Connect Prepares for Debut

08 17 SHIEC logoThe TexLa Telehealth Resource Center (TRC) is preparing to launch Telehealth Connect, a map that will be used to identify rural and underserved areas across Louisiana and Texas in relation to telehealth programs and specialties. The map, which will soon be available on the TexLa TRC website, will also show areas that may be eligible for telehealth funding. If you are a telehealth provider, please take a few minutes to complete the Telehealth Connect Survey. The information provided will be used to identify and map telehealth programs and specialties on Telehealth Connect. The TexLa TRC provides technical assistance and resources to new and existing telehealth programs throughout Texas and Louisiana. Lonnie DuFour, the Quality Forum’s Director of Telehealth Services, serves as the State Project Coordinator for the TexLa TRC and chairs the Louisiana Telehealth Access Task Force. For more information about telehealth projects in Louisiana or the survey, contact DuFour at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

New Reports Target Telehealth, Interoperability

09 17 telehealth final reportThe National Quality Forum (NQF) recently released reports that provide guidance on two health IT-related topics: telehealth and interoperability. In Creating a Framework to Support Measure Development for Telehealth, NQF proposes a conceptual foundation that includes NQF-endorsed measures and measure concepts. The foundation, in turn, could be used to effectively assess the quality and impact of telehealth services. Interoperability 2016-2017 Final Report also features a common framework and measure concepts that identify current gaps in the measurement of interoperability and their impacts. The study examines four broad categories: the exchange of electronic health information, its usability, its application and its impact on patient safety, costs, productivity, care coordination, processes and patient/caregiver engagement.

ONC Studies Public Health, Health Information Exchange (HIE) Connections

09 17 onc hie public health final report
ONC issued a new report in early September that examines how public health agencies use existing HIE organizations to exchange information with health care providers. Sixteen jurisdictions across the country were interviewed for the Connecting Public Health Information Systems and Health Information Exchange Organizations: Lessons from the Field Report. As noted in the report, “… providers transmit public health information to public health systems, hospital/clinic networks and jurisdictional HIE organizations. Connecting public health systems to an HIE organization is one option to efficiently achieve interoperability and eliminate redundant connections on both sides of a transaction.” Categories covered included leadership; technical; financial; privacy and security; legal and policy; and health IT developers; in addition to best practices and lessons learned. The Louisiana Health Information Exchange (LaHIE), administered by the Quality Forum, was not featured in the study but currently enables more than 260 authorized participants in our state to securely access and exchange health-related information, including public health reporting.
09 17 News Notes

David Blumenthal, MD, MPP; Karen DeSalvo, MD, MPH; Farzad Mostashari, MD; and Vindell Washington, MD, MHCM; former national coordinators for health IT at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, have co-authored “Perspective: The HITECH Era and the Path Forward.” The article, which appeared in the Sept. 7 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, provides a unique overview of the Meaningful Use program while noting its progress, obstacles and opportunities. In addition to leading the ONC, Drs. DeSalvo and Washington served as former Quality Forum board presidents.

"Correctional Health Care Goes Electronic: Linking Prisoners with EHRs," authored by CEO Cindy Munn, appeared in the September/October 2017 issues of Healthcare Journal of Baton Rouge (pp. 40-41) and Healthcare Journal of New Orleans (pp. 42-43).

On Aug. 10, CEO Cindy Munn, participated in a virtual roundtable discussion for Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement Organization (NRHI) and Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative (SHIEC) members. The discussion focused on population health measures for payment reform across communities. Other roundtable presenters included Elizabeth Mitchell, President and CEO of NRHI; Patricia Kosednar, Director of Health Technology Services for Mountain-Pacific Quality Health; and Jerry Reeves, Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs for HealthInsight of Nevada.

Allen Abshire, Health IT Operations Director, attended the 2017 SHIEC Annual Conference in Indianapolis in late August. The conference offered sessions on SHIEC initiatives such as the Patient Centered Data Home™ as well as innovations in technology, payer relations and quality. SHIEC is a nonprofit, national consortium and trade association of statewide, regional and community HIEs and strategic business/technology partners that supports members through the exchange of ideas and business practices, public education and advocacy.

On Aug. 16, Susan Nelson, MD, LaPOST Coalition Chair, hosted a webinar for approximately 60 health care professionals about advance care planning and the LaPOST document.

Views from Past Board Presidents: Ray Peters, Vice President of Human Resources and Marketing, RoyOMartin

09 17 Ray Peters
Ray Peters, Vice President of Human Resources and Marketing for RoyOMartin, was a Quality Forum founding board member and the organization’s third board president. Headquartered in Alexandria, La., RoyOMartin is one of the largest independently-owned lumber companies in the South with a workforce of 1,100 people. To serve the health care needs of its employees, RoyOMartin has long championed patient-centered primary care. Since 2011, the company has provided patient-centered medical home (PCMH) services, in alignment with the Triple Aim framework, to employees and their family members. The PCMH model has been a core initiative of the Quality Forum since its inception. In this interview, Peters discusses the benefits of offering patient-centered primary care for RoyOMartin’s workforce as well as the company itself.

"The most powerful reason for starting a patient-centered primary care clinic is access. Having access to quality/affordable care is the key to effectively managing health and its associated costs. Nearly 80 percent of our employee population and their families indicate that our clinic serves as their primary health care provider. Since opening it, we’ve seen cases of chronic conditions decrease. With the reduction in chronic cases, the cost of providing health care has decreased. Over the past five years, we haven’t seen more than a five percent increase in costs, and that includes funding the clinic. Employees say it’s our best benefit. With vertical integration of health care in mind, we’ve moved the clinic to a nearby hospital site that can offer greater access to radiological and lab services. Pharmacy and dental care are somewhere in the future. Unfortunately, I think employers still lack the necessary understanding to fully participate in offering health care alternatives to their workforce. They’re frightened by liability and cost, and that may slow down overall progress. Regarding the future of health care in the workplace, even with the sensitivity of personal health information, employers can do much more to promote a healthy workplace. I encourage them to seize the opportunity and promote wellness because healthy employees are more productive employees."
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