Symposium Focuses on Improving Patient Outcomes, Reducing Cost

The symposium, sponsored by the Oregon Medical Association and OCHIN, will also help clinicians with the implementation of the new ICD-10 codes.

Reducing cost, improving patient outcomes and developing stronger relationships between clinicians and their patients are the themes of an upcoming symposium sponsored by OCHIN and the Oregon Medical Association. The symposium, which runs from Nov.13-15 at the Oregon Convention Center, is expected to attract health professionals from throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Every single provider of care on the healthcare continuum is being challenged with designing, supporting, and driving the next generation of integrated, coordinated care, according to Abby Sears, CEO of OCHIN. Through its regional extension center and working in collaboration with Oregon Health & Science University, OCHIN has supported more than 3,500 Oregon healthcare providers helping them adopt and implement meaningful use electronic health records – using a $13 million federal stimulus grant.

Because healthcare transformation is the age of the industrialization of healthcare – everyone needs to be supported by helpful technologies, information, resources, and continuing educational opportunities to help improve healthcare outcomes for individuals and communities, according to Sears. The cHealth Innovation Symposium provides opportunities for all of this in addition to information sharing through specially designed provider networking sessions that encourage peer-to peer learning.

Electronic health records are nothing new to clinicians in Oregon, which has a much higher adoption – 90 percent, including rural practitioners – than most other states.

Yet there remains an overwhelming need for education, particularly with the implementation of the new ICD-10 codes next fall.

This transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 represents one of the most significant changes to health care information in decades. ICD-10 includes a major increase in the number of diagnostic codes, and requires greater specificity when defining a patient’s medical condition, Sears said. These codes, which are used for billing, affect not only medical diagnoses but also inpatient procedures.

“The largest challenges facing clinicians are the amount of things coming at them,” Sears added. “To the degree we can unravel those mysteries and help them do things more efficiently, that’s the goal.

This is our first step to try and connect the messages within the provider community.

“This symposium begins and ends with clinicians and patients and their relationship, and we need to continue nurturing these relationships and finding ways to communicate to make the changes they want to make to improve patient outcomes,” Sears added.

There’s no better venue for sharing learning experiences, according to Jo Bryson, the OMA’s executive director, who’s reaching out to clinic managers, allied health professionals and medical staff of the coordinated care organizations, encouraging them to attend the symposium.

Bryson hears from physician all the time saying how difficult it can be dealing with electronic health records after seeing patients all day long and not getting home from the office until 10 o’clock at night.

“The implementation of electronic health records is a lot harder and not as user friendly as everyone says it is,” said Bryson who’s excited about the symposium and its potential to reach hundreds of practitioners. “The younger ones are embracing this new technology but doctors who are more seasoned are telling me they didn’t go to school to become scribes and feel this is a burden.”

Health care providers, educators, and health IT experts need access to trusted and best-in-class information, resources, continued education opportunities, and a supportive community to explain, vet, and prioritize the health IT needs of the entire healthcare community, Sears said.

Oregon’s nonprofit health care and health IT organizations also need to find ways to reduce operational costs that often get pushed onto their membership. Concurrently, they need to find ways to increase their value and core service competencies in order for their organizations to be relevant and serve their missions. Combining organizational resources (staff skillset, knowledge, event funding) to co-produce an event that addresses the full-spectrum health IT needs of the community would allow these organizations to directly participate and serve the Triple Aim: improve care, improve population health, and reduce costs, she added.

Nicholas J. Webb, a world-renowned business futurist and innovation thought leader, is one of the keynote speakers at the symposium and the author of “The Innovation Playbook” and “The Digital Innovation Playbook.” He is also a successful inventor with a wide range of patented technologies ranging from one of the world’s smallest medical implants to consumer and industrial products. Webb is also the inventor of the popular Hanz® line of educational toys. He has been awarded over 35 Patents by the US Patent and Trademark Office. Webb has launched hundreds of technologies in his 25-year career. He currently provides business and innovation strategy consulting to a wide range of clients, ranging from small start-ups to Fortune 500 companies.

Diane can be reached at [email protected].

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