In July of 1776, John Adams wrote a letter to his wife, Abigal Adams. John laid down his vision of how America’s independence should be celebrated by generations to come and cordially offered up ways and methods:
“[Independence Day] will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shews, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more. You will think me transported with enthusiasm, but I am not. I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure, that it will cost us to maintain this declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is more than worth all the means. And that posterity will triumph in that day’s transaction, even although we should rue it, which I trust in God we shall not.”
In the first year of the war, the country was divided, and many described its early stages as a “civil war”. In early 1776, Thomas Paine authored “Common Sense” and it went viral (back then in a paper-based way, via pamphlets that were printed, distributed, and shared), selling 500,000 copies. Paine’s pamphlet served as the trending “hashtag” for independence of the American colonies by sharing his views and establishing himself as an influencer of the time. Thomas wrote to change the opinion of the status quo, “Europe, and not England, is the parent country of America. This new world hath been the asylum for the persecuted lovers of civil and religious liberty from every part of Europe. Hither they have fled, not from the tender embraces of the mother, but from the cruelty of the monster; and it is so far true of England, that the same tyranny which drove the first emigrants from home, pursues their descendants still.” His writing served as a catalyst for change. (Note: I found this article on History.com very interesting).
On this Independence Day week, I hope you find time to celebrate on-tune to John Adams’ dreams in 1776. Liberating the colonies to establish “the land of the free” and democracy as the foundation for values that ring true today. A populous that was divided – aligned under a vision of freedom. As it relates to healthcare, we can find common ground here as well.
In a similar mission to the liberators in the American Revolution, key healthcare stakeholders are on somewhat of a data revolution – pushing back against the constraints, to achieve data liquidity.
The Patriots: Improve Experience, Lower Costs, Better Outcomes!
Like the Patriots back in the 1770s, the goal of healthcare data access is tied to improved experience, lower costs, and better outcomes.
“The ability to obtain your health records from anywhere via your iPhone is nothing less than magic. Apple has put the power in the hands of patients, who are the most important stakeholders,” compliments Dr. Shafiq Rab, Chief Information Officer, from Rush University Medical Center on Apple’s website.
Apple’s healthcare landing page boldly states, “Empower your patients with Health Records on iPhone”. It continues on to claim, “The Health app makes it easier than ever for users to visualize and securely store their health records. Now your patients can aggregate their health records from multiple institutions alongside their patient-generated data, creating a more holistic view of their health”.
I can’t access any of my health records from my physicians on my iPhone but look forward to having this data liberated soon. It is promising to see more and more health systems announcing their adoption of the Apple kit with a common goal to improve patient experience, through better access. Apple offers up a list of “Institutions that support health records on iPhone and iPod touch (beta)” on their website. (Note: it is very cumbersome to find your physician, but at least it is there).
Aside from Apple, other Fortune 500 firms are taking a firm stance on their strategies to get data fluidity. By the end of 2019, UnitedHealth Group (UHG) is working towards this goal, for its 50 million members, through access to an Individual Health Record (IHR). MedCity News quoted UHG’s CEO, David Wichmann, as follows, “Our goal with the IHR is to provide doctors and individuals with a deeply personalized 360 degree view on a person’s health…not dependent on any one system or network.”
Physicians and their care teams are on the frontlines and many share the popular goal of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Triple Aim. Recently added, the Quadruple Aim, typically includes physician satisfaction, as a fourth vertical. With the changes in healthcare mandates, the impact on clinician workflow is significant and for many results in additional administrative work, extensive “pajama time” and countless screen time. Dr. Zeshan A. Rajput, chair of American College of Physicians’ Medical Informatics Committee comments, “We urge CMS and ONC to be thoughtful about integration and to insert information in the clinical workload in a way that enhances the interaction between doctor and patient.” His statement was included in a post on June 21, 2019, with the intent to offer “counsel” from a physician’s perspective on the proposed interoperability rule.
America is a great country, built by great people – you know what made them great – the spirit of freedom and a disregard for binding tradition – Abhijit Naskar.
The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) proposed a rule in February 2019 to expedite the flow of data. Learning from the past challenges, like “Death by 1,000 Clicks: Where Electronic Health Records Went Wrong” recounts the rapid adoption of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) triggered by a well-intended, government-sponsored incentive program. The government’s goal was very positive – to offer a “carrot” to entice and expedite the migration from paper records to digital. In the article, Seema Verma, the current chief of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, calls out the obvious miss: “We didn’t think about how all these systems connect with one another. That was the real missing piece.” It’s been interesting to see how the key stakeholders have used the announcement to “comment” and declare their position.
Last week, Aaron Miri, MBA, chief information officer of UT Health Austin and Dell Medical School and a HITAC member was interviewed by Samara Rosenfield with Inside Digital Health and stated the following, “If you look at what happened over the past decade with Meaningful Use implementation and the amount of churn that occurred in the industry because of that, these rules are the next level up on top of that. You can expect much of the same type of confusion, questions and lobbying once these go into final rule and the expected implementation occurs.” Miri offers strong perspective facing healthcare leaders and I think best summaries his views with the following statement, it’s all about empowering the patient, liberating the data and making sure all applicable laws and regulations are followed appropriately.”
Give me Liberty or Give me Death! – Patrick Henry
Here at Holon, our mission is to “Liberate the Data”. We work in partnership with our clients’ heterogenous technology landscape to agnostically liberate data from all digital resources. Our patented technology enables providers to access patient-specific information within their workflow. We are reducing administrative burden and saving at least 5 minutes per patient encounter, according to end-user studies.
I wish you a Happy 4th of July week – that is filled with bonfires, games, and good times. I will be at the lake.
Contact our team and join us as we Liberate the Data to Liberate the Care.