Historically fragmented, the ability to share patient data across the continuum of care, including between different hospitals, insurance companies and employers is still challenging. The ability to share and analyze this data has a positive impact on patient care, cost reductions, and prevention programs. Electronic Health Records (EHRs) have the potential to bridge this gap by providing a direct link between patient records at various clinical sites; however, the creation of ‘interoperable’ systems has been lagging.Achieving success with interoperability is highly dependent upon the ability of multiple healthcare IT systems to share data in a meaningful way. Essentially, this speaks to the need for healthcare providers to communicate electronically with multiple internal stakeholders and outside providers. Ultimately, interoperable systems are critical to achieving these goals.
Regrettably, current EHR systems continue to struggle in this area as the rate of digitization increases. This deprives the healthcare system of the connectivity that was envisioned in the Affordable Care Act and limits success in achieving desired efficiencies from the healthcare system. With this problem in mind, what solution(s) would you propose to existing EHR systems to facilitate the easy and smooth transmittal of data and patient information between them? What further applications of this data transmittal improvement would greatly impact how this data is analyzed and used?
Healthcare organizations are striving to engage patients in their care, articulating strategies and investing in technologies such as patient portals that serve to pull patients into the conversation about their health and make them active agents in maintaining and improving it. But analysis reveals that when leaders consider patient engagement, they question whether they are currently on a path that will lead to the increased patient involvement required to improve clinical outcomes and reduce costs.For many reasons, patient portals have emerged as the key to engagement strategies. Yet, while these offer key aspects to a successful engagement strategy, including convenience and functionality, many doubt that portals alone can realize the desired benefits seen in effective patient engagements.
Ultimately, a complete set of processes and systems are needed that create and maintain a clear patient engagement strategy. True, interoperable, next-generation portals based on a unified health informatics platform can offer the single source functionality that will enable patients to become partners in their own care. However, are these systems sufficient to encourage patients to take an active role in their healthcare? Are other, related systems and process also needed to pull patients into the process? What systems, processes… would you recommend be provided to patients by providers that would foster the engagement from patients that will establish the level of engagement envisioned by many and essential to securing the promise of our healthcare system?
The Personal Health Record market faces many challenges. This includes the challenge of accessing personal health information. Many issues drive this problem, including lack of a common digital, computable format. Even when personal health information is in a common data standard, that data is often fraught with errors. Then there is the issue of simply getting the data from an institution. Many institutions have a patient portal allowing a patient to access and view their personal health information (most often a limited subset of the patient’s complete record) but very few institutions actually support the portability of a patient’s personal health information.While this is a bold step forward in the evolution of our healthcare system, much needs to be done to smooth out these challenges and render personal health information and records easily accessible and transportable. Please propose some solutions to these challenges.
Consumer technologies, data, and analytics are all leading contributors towards advancement in wellness and population health. Providers, Schools, Employers, and Governments all recognize the importance of preventive health measures to improve long-term health and reduce healthcare costs. With this in mind and considering possible integrations with existing tools and applications, how might an entity such as a school, employer, or local government agency engage their population in health and wellness activities? How can they incentivize participation? How can the School, Employer, or Government access information about the health and wellness of their area without infringing on patient privacy? Are there ways to support users in all five elements of well-being (purpose, social, financial, community, and physical)? What partnerships with existing programming and opportunities are possible, such as an integration with The Coca-Cola Foundations “Walk Georgia” program?
Given there are some many opportunities to improve the healthcare system through intelligent application of health informatics, students are encouraged to raise, explore, and test their own ideas to key challenges they see facing the use of health informatics and technologies in our healthcare system. Towards this end, students can propose and develop solutions to pain points that they have identified in the industry, explaining the problem and the proposed solution. As with the other challenges, students are encouraged to be realistic and data driven if when proposing their own challenge, as these projects will be evaluated using the same criteria as the established challenges.