HIMMS, the “Consumer-Directed Exchange”

HIMSS, the annual meeting of the minds in healthcare Information Technology came and went just about two weeks ago. This growing body of like-minded leaders, companies and initiatives is always one step away from revolutionizing healthcare and a mile away from getting anything done. This year’s event was hijacked by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) dropping a huge announcement on the first day of HIMMS – a new proposed rule. This proposed rule would require hospitals and payors to make significant investments in their health information technology to comply with the new requirements. In layman’s terms – the systems holding the data will now be required to make that data available to the patient and to any form/app/system they prefer. This is the “Consumer-Directed Exchange”.

Mike Leavitt former HHS Secretary and Governor of Utah said in the keynote panel, “For a long time, the government was behind the private sector (patient data exchange) and now the private sector is behind government.”

So what does this mean for the industry? This is yet another sentinel moment when the healthcare IT industry will be forced to innovate — years and years of failed attempts at “interoperability” between systems has not worked — now Consumers (i.e. Patients) will now be empowered by their own data. Sounds daunting – and there are certainly going to be “issues”. But If you have ever been a Consumer of healthcare — or been with a family member who was – you know that the most basic business processes are painstakingly difficult. Retrieving images for example — the standard for sharing medical images is still a CR-ROM and those have not been installed in computers for years! Regurgitating your results from one specialist to another? Fixed. Remembering your prescriptions for the new doctor intake form? Fixed.

This will also prime new opportunity for those who wish to capitalize and build new solutions around this. Like any transition this will be painful – but worth it.

Questions about how this will impact your facility? Just send us a message and we’ll talk through your facility and help give insight on how to prepare for this transition.