WEDI wants to see patient engagement efforts improve

The importance of patient engagement and technology use for better and more efficient health outcomes serves as the focus of the 2013 Workplace for Electronic Data (WEDI) report, released today. Leaders present at its launch from across the healthcare sector expressed hope about the potential of the report.

"Like the WEDI Report that I initiated in 1993 that became the roadmap for electronic business solutions for healthcare in the 1990s, the 2013 WEDI Report and recommendations will serve as the roadmap that will lead to greater efficiency and improved healthcare delivery in the years ahead," WEDI founder Louis Sullivan, M.D., a former secretary for the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, said at a press conference in Washington, D.C., Thursday. "I regarded the implementation of the 1993 WEDI Report roadmap as a civic duty for its time, and it is my hope that the healthcare industry will adopt that same spirit for the 2013 WEDI Report recommendations."

The report contains 10 recommendations and focuses on four key areas, including:

  1. Patient Engagement: Consumer (patient) engagement through improved access to healthcare information.
  2. Payment Models: Business, information and data exchange requirements that will help enable payment models as they emerge.
  3. Data Harmonization and Exchange: Alignment of administrative and clinical information capture, linkage and exchange.
  4. Innovative Encounter Models: Business and use cases for innovative encounter models that use existing and emergent technologies.

Devin Jopp, president and CEO of WEDI, called the report's recommendations "not necessarily easy ... but achievable." HIT education and literacy programs for consumers are necessary, he said, as is establishing uniformity for measurement of data processes.

"It is our civic duty to see this work through," Jopp said. "We're depending on partnerships to make this happen. Change is tough, and changing healthcare is tougher."

Speaking on an industry expert panel, Susan Turney, president and CEO of the Medical Group Management Association, said the report has the potential to change the U.S. healthcare system and has "really clear opportunities" to simplify and share data.

"Technology can truly help the way we take care of patients ... and streamline administrative tasks that add little or no value to patient care," Turney said. "[The report] provides the industry with a reasonable, actionable pathway."

Rob Alger, vice president of HIT strategy at Kaiser Permanente, added that WEDI's report will be helpful as the industry takes on the newly insured thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

Robert Tagalicod, director of the Office of eHealth Standards and Services at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, called the report a good first step. "We can look at recommendations and make them actionable, and work better together," he said.

Judy Murphy, deputy national coordinator for programs and policy at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, said it's important to expand the idea of where healthcare is provided--not just in the ICU or ER, but in wearable technology data, in what someone eats and how someone sleeps. A patient-centric model is the key to today and tomorrow, she said.

To learn more:
- read the full report (.pdf)