Beacon Community: Population Health Industry Innovators Hold Key to HIT Transformation

Attention, population health management innovators, you may have answers in your toolbox to health information technology problems that are plaguing communities around the nation, as they look to transform their HIT infrastructure.

A group of organizations that are part of the Beacon Community Cooperative Agreement Program participated at a Public Meeting Day on Wednesday, May 22. They shared their experiences lessons learned, and pointed to existing opportunities for health care stakeholders to engage.

The HHS office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) provided $250 million in funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 over three years (2010-2013) to 17 select Beacon Communities throughout the US for local improvement.

We thought CCA members and population health management stakeholders would be well served by a quick recap of this insightful discussion.  

The top themes of the meeting can be summarized as follows:

  • Population Health Management Services Are Essential To Transformation
  • Payment Reform Policies Must Be Addressed To Incorporate and Encourage Health Technology Innovations
  • Organizations Need A Robust Data Sharing and Communications Infrastructure
  • Technology Tools that Solve Community and Primary Care Level Challenges Are Paramount
  • Organizations Need To Adopt Continuous Measurement And Program Evaluation To Create Learning Opportunities And Drive Value

As you can see, these are all areas where CCA members excel and have resources to offer to help communities transform their health technology infrastructures.

The panelists provided very timely advice to the Beacon Communities.

Carol Beasley, Vice President of Business Development at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement:

Share your stories and experience.

Consolidate lessons to generate the next layer of innovation.

Dr. Asaf Bitton, Division of General Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School Center for Primary Care:

Relationships and governance structures are an important foundation.

Keep focusing on the big tough issues because they are the critical dynamics of practice transformation.

Be ready to spring to new opportunities.

Susan Dentzer, Senior Policy Advisor at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and On-Air Analyst on Health Policy, PBS NewsHour: 

For communities looking to transform, state innovation grants will be big receptor sites for new opportunities. 

Dr. Mark McClellan, Director of the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform, Senior Fellow, Economic Studies, Leonard D Schaeffer Chair in Health Policy Studies, Brookings Institution:

Distill the specific areas where communities can start.

The Beacon leanings can be foundations that are relevant for communities elsewhere.

We will get to a day where data moves with patients. Share key information needed by patients and providers in other communities that can be provided reliably and confidently.


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