Vendor collaboration is key to improving healthcare IT infrastructure issues

Vendor collaboration is key to improving healthcare IT infrastructure issues

By Brad Dodge on January 10th, 2012

In the latest installment of our HIMSS12 blog series, John Tempesco ofICAis interviewed. John serves as chief marketing officer, is an ACHE and Life Management Institute Fellow, and has 34 years of healthcare experience. To view earlier installments please click here.

John Tempesco headshotDodge: What do you expect will be the theme of conversations at this year’s HIMSS show?
Tempesco: I think there will be three key threads that will run through the conference. One will be about ACOs, their value proposition, and how they will affect all kinds of technology, especially interoperability. This thread will give a good value-based reason for exchanging information, creating interoperability solutions and lead toward the next thread, which is value reimbursement. Secondly, in addition to ACOs, there is a real focus on value-based reimbursement. Everyone wants to get out of piecework healthcare and start reimbursing healthcare based on results. The last topic, since we are in an election year, will be about the politics of healthcare. There will be discussions about who will win the election, and what will happen to healthcare especially as it relates to healthcare IT. And, will there be a continued push for interoperability solutions, health information exchange, with the future of direct – all of those things that the current administration is pushing.

Dodge: How is ICA approaching its overall strategy for HIMSS?
Tempesco: Our strategy this year is to engage other vendors to be more collaborative in their approach to solving healthcare issues. None of us can do what is necessary to really change healthcare in isolation, so we want to engage as many vendors as possible to share data with each other in a way that will result in improved quality, reduced cost and satisfying patients, providers and payers. We believe that this approach will form that basis for the overall health IT industry to work toward a single goal of creating an infrastructure that will enable healthcare entities to form ACOs, gather necessary information and report back to payers, patients and employers as to whether or not they are getting value for the dollars they are spending.
Dodge: What are you looking forward to most this year at HIMSS and what are you hoping to gain from attending the conference?
Tempesco: We have two key areas we are looking forward to this year. The first is launching our new stepped approach to establishing rapid value-based interoperability across the healthcare continuum.  This approach defines and segments the steps necessary to achieve an ACO, a value-based reimbursement model or a private or public HIE. What we’ve seen in the past is that people are buying a solution they think will get them to HIE nirvana, when they aren’t conceptually ready for the many steps necessary to get them there, and they don’t see the actual success they’ve achieved along the way. What we’ve done is break our application into five solutions, some separate and some interconnected, all of which enable rapid deployment and results. They include a standards based interoperability solution; a communication capability; collaborative care enhancements that allow building on the first two and create advanced care coordination capabilities; data analysis and reporting; and a full ACO capability. We’re looking forward to rolling out this new CareAlign methodology, and showing the industry how to progress through those steps when creating an HIE or ACO. The second big item, going back to our collaborative approach with other vendors, is launching our ICA Extreme Testing Center, or ICAetc. It is a free virtual playground where vendors can test their interoperability capabilities anytime. It is free, vendor-agnostic and allows end–to-end transactions between vendors without restrictions on scenarios or data elements. Vendors can see whether or not what they’re developing is going to meet the requirements of others in the marketplace.
Dodge: What can we expect to see in the HIE space in 2012?
Tempesco: Over the past year, it has become very difficult to define what exactly an HIE is. Last year HIE was a big theme of HIMSS and was a major part of most vendor booths. I believe we have now reached a tipping point in the industry. There are currently enough HIEs deployed that we’re beginning to see the same issues with sharing information among HIEs as we saw with vendors. There will be two major issues in the HIE space this year. The first is how to get the standards to work with each other so HIE and HIT vendors can share information in a collaborative way. The second is the question of where do we go from here.  Once there is information being shared, how can it be used to make a difference within healthcare by reducing costs and improving quality and satisfaction?
Dodge: Where can we find ICA at HIMSS12?
Tempesco: We’ll be at booth #4831 and our client Janet King, executive director/eHealth director of Middle Tennessee eHealth Connect/THA will be presenting a lecture on strategies for building a sustainable HIE through expansion and continuum-wide provider inclusion.