Although National Techies Day is officially celebrated every October 3, we think the HIT professionals who are transforming healthcare through their impressive innovation, dedication and expertise deserve our appreciation year-round. Our HIT List this week zeroes in on some of the top-priority issues they’re helping the industry grapple with, including governance, interoperability and patient engagement.

  1. Digitally divided. Physicians and patients don’t always see eye to eye on technology use, says a new study. For example, almost two-thirds of both physicians and patients believe smartphones should be used for routine blood tests when that technology becomes feasible. But physicians are much more hesitant than patients to replace office visits with patient-collected, smartphone-delivered data on skin, ear and eye health. See how the two groups weighed in on other questions.
  2. Big vote for governance. Advanced governance is critical to establishing a robust IT system in healthcare. Yet a new survey reports that more than a third of healthcare professionals say they either don’t know if their organization has any information governance efforts underway — or even if they’re needed. Check out three ways to tell if your organization is properly implementing IT governance.
  3. A message for Congress. HIMSS has an agenda for Congress: #1. Ask HHS to create a five-year roadmap of all the HIT requirements they administer to clarify priorities for providers and vendors. #2. Approve ONC’s 2015 budget to keep interoperability efforts on track. #3: Increase Medicare coverage of telehealth services. What’s your position?
  4. Measurable impact. Telemonitoring of congestive heart failure patients reduced mortality between 15% and 56%, and telestroke treatment reduced mortality about 25%, according to a new multi-institution study. Researchers also pinpointed other clear benefits, including fewer and shorter hospital stays and fewer emergency room visits. Have you started integrating telehealth into your patient care?
  5. Smart patient portal practices. Primary care practices can match or exceed the patient portal usage rates of large health systems, concludes a new study. Here are some winning strategies: Engage office staff to help notify patients about the portal instead of relying solely on clinicians. Enable patients to see lab results and clinician explanations. Make decisions at the practice level that support use. What steps are you taking to boost usage?
  6. A giant leap forward. Nine California health information exchanges have signed on to a multi-party trust agreement that one of the participants claims will “blast away major barriers” to interoperability. The goal is to create a new network that ensures patient privacy and data security while enabling data exchange between otherwise unaffiliated providers. Groundbreaking progress?
  7. Easing aging in place. Even though nearly all Americans believe it’s important to remain as independent as possible as they age, new research shows that a mere 21% plan to use technology solutions to achieve this goal. The Senate Special Committee on Aging is convening thought leaders to address this gap in technology adoption and explore how technology and telehealth can help seniors age in place. Any ideas?

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