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Honor My Wishes

By Susan Nelson, MD
LaPOST Coalition Chair

Last November, the Louisiana Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment (LaPOST) program had the opportunity to collaborate with Our Lady of the Lake College (OLOL College) in Baton Rouge for a unique service-learning partnership. Students from OLOL College’s Health Service Administration – Health Care Marketing class were tasked with developing a social media campaign that would generate awareness and education, specifically among young adults, about LaPOST and the importance of advance care planning. One of the centerpieces of the campaign was a unifying hashtag that participants could use to show their support for the cause, and thus, #HonorMyWishes was born.

With every image that was posted, liked, shared or tweeted, our message expanded to new audiences, potentially inspiring people of various ages to begin contemplating their medical treatment preferences. Therein lies the beauty of social media; familiarity is not essential for impact. The only requirement is a message capable of resonating with the receiver. #HonorMyWishes is a rallying cry for patients, family members and others who believe in the power of the patient’s voice and support the importance of that voice being heard.

In honor of National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD), observed annually on April 16, LaPOST is reviving the #HonorMyWishes campaign to encourage people to have discussions with their loved ones and physicians about the kinds of medical treatment they would/would not want to receive if they could no longer speak for themselves. The goal is to prompt conversations about the advance care planning options available to them and to help remove the stigma associated with end-of-life care.

So, how can you get involved?

We’re asking you to take photos displaying a sign that describes what advance care planning means to you and/or why it should matter to others. Upload the images to the LaPOST Facebook page or tag us on Twitter @LouisianaPOLST, and be sure to include the hashtag #HonorMyWishes.

What began as a marketing concept for a college course project has the potential to evolve into a social movement driven by those who value the patient’s right to make their treatment wishes known, and those who take a proactive approach to managing their health care. The LaPOST Coalition invites everyone to take part in our push to drive the conversation on advance care planning, one image at a time.

For more information on advance care planning options in Louisiana, visit la-post.org.


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Interoperability: The Buzzword For HIMSS16

By Allen Abshire, HIE Operations Director

Tens of thousands of health IT professionals and industry leaders are making their final preparations for the trek to Las Vegas for the 2016 HIMSS Annual Conference in a few weeks, and I am one of them.

I look forward each year to the HIMSS conference because it’s a virtual breeding ground for innovative ideas and technology that serve as inspiration to an HIE Operations Director like me. Not only does the conference provide me with a front row seat to some great educational sessions, it also gives me a chance to visit with some outstanding HIE and health IT leaders from across the country. That said, as a veteran HIMSS-goer, I’ve already begun developing my schedule for the week, and at the top of my list are these three items:

  1. Interoperability and Health Information Exchange Symposium: The Road to Interoperability: With interoperability clearly one of the most complex and challenging barriers to effective information sharing in health care, I am looking forward to getting some great information in this pre-conference symposium about successful business models, use cases and technical standards focused on driving interoperability across the spectrum of health care stakeholders.
  2. HIMSS Interoperability Showcase: The showcase is always a favorite, and I never miss it. The technology on display never fails to amaze and inspire me, and I expect no different at this year’s showcase, which will feature 36,000 square feet, more than 100 systems and devices connected in one space and numerous sessions demonstrating the key new technologies from industry leaders highlighting the Federal Health Architecture as well as standards-based exchange showing real world solutions to interoperability.
  3. Meetups and Networking: The HIMSS conference provides a veritable smorgasbord of meetings and networking opportunities, and there are far too many of them to list individually. To new HIMSS attendees, I hope you’ll seek out and participate in these events – they are excellent brainstorming sessions that allow you to meet your peers, compare notes and develop new ideas and partnerships.

And of course, my schedule also includes several key sessions, including one by my colleagues, Jamie Martin and Nadine Robin, who will be presenting Louisiana’s statewide patient engagement campaign at the conference this year, as well as ample engagement in the #HIMSS16 discussion on Twitter, so be sure to follow me here.

The HIMSS conference is always an adventure, and it’s never a dull one. HIMSS16 will be no different. Safe travels to Vegas, my friends – I’ll see you there.

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Building A Healthier State Through Health IT


By Cindy Munn -


Our nation and state stand on the threshold of dynamic improvements in health care. Through advancements in health information technology, true health care reform is within our reach, but not without system-wide adoption of electronic health records and health information exchange.

In support of National Health IT Week, observed Sept. 16-20, the Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum, a private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing health IT in our state, seeks to provide residents with information about the value and benefits of this technology, or more specifically, what the increased use of EHRs and HIEs could mean for patients.  An EHR is an electronic version of the paper charts kept by our doctors. It may include clinical information such as medical histories, lab results, radiology reports, medications, allergies and notes that may help our doctors diagnose and treat us. Unlike paper records, which can be lost, stolen or damaged, EHRs are designed so that only authorized providers who are actively participating in our care can access our information, and only from an authorized location.

In our state, we can consent to having our EHRs shared through the Louisiana Health Information Exchange (LaHIE), a secure electronic system designed to ensure that our EHRs move with us as we seek care from enrolled providers at authorized locations. Having this information available through LaHIE has many benefits. We may not have to fill out the same forms over and over at doctors’ offices because that information will already be in the system. We may not have to undergo repetitive medical procedures and tests because the results of those tests will be included in our health information. If there is a public emergency like a hurricane, LaHIE helps ensure that our EHRs are safe and that enrolled health care providers can access them from any authorized location.

As the State-Designated Entity for health IT advancements in Louisiana, the Quality Forum is bringing these benefits to fruition for the residents of our state. Our Regional Extension Center, the Louisiana Health Information Technology Resource Center, is now working with more than 2,000 health care providers in the adoption and implementation of EHRs. In addition, LaHIE now has participation agreements with more than 170 hospitals, providers, school-based health centers, home health agencies and other health care companies across Louisiana.

By providing our state with a strong health IT infrastructure, we are well-positioned to overcome our long-held rankings as among the highest in per capita costs and the lowest in clinical quality and health outcomes. We encourage our fellow residents to visit with their doctors about EHRs and LaHIE. We have the right to demand a higher quality of care, and through health IT, we can receive it.

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