A few years ago, physicians were generally considered as one of the primary stumbling blocks to IT executions. In few months, the AMA (American Medical Association) is doing its best to eliminate that impression.
For a physician agency, the AMA is spending much time in technology circles, so much so that previously this month, Andy Slavitt, acting administrator of the CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services), complimented the AMA for its “great advocacy” when he made his declaration that the federal Meaningful Use program will be replaced in the year 2016.
That similar day, the AMA declared it was initiating a healthcare innovation company called Health2047, which will perform rapid exploration of innovative solutions, involving some in IT.
The genesis for the association’s increased participation in health IT goes back to a year 2013 AMA-RAND research on physician satisfiers and dis-satisfiers, states Steven J. Stack, MD, the AMA’s president.
“Doctors are most satisfied and fulfilled when they feel that their work has helped patients lead healthier, happier lives, and when they feel that the health network motivated them in that work,” Stack claims. “Right now, doctors mostly feel under siege and impeded by entire sorts of things that intrude on the patient-physician relationship.”
Worse IT usability and interoperability are looming as chief intrusions for the medical community. Other impediments involve a deficiency of resources to fuel innovations in sufferer care and micromanagement from private and public payers.
One of the AMA’s strategic aims is to make better the physician practice sustainability. “We are working very extensively to produce what we describe as an innovation ecosystem,” Stack claims. “We are trying to assist physicians thrive and innovate in their offices so they can be more effective and spend more time with sufferers.”
While there is more to this objective than health IT, the AMA is contributing considerable resources to make sure that physicians’ IT uncertainties are kept front and center.
“We are getting thoroughly involved in the health IT space,” emphasizes Michael Hodgkins, MD, who has served as the AMA’s chief medical information officer for the past 5 years. “We need to make certain that the physician voice is represented in how these tools are established. The promise of HIT lies in its capability to overcome the restrictions of a very fragmented healthcare network.”
Improved interoperability and usability are the association’s significant IT aims, Stack states. “EHRs and other technologies are not elegantly designed right now. It is akin to providing physicians—who have 7 or more years of post-graduate education—Apple IIe computers to work on while everyone else is utilizing iPhones.”
The AMA is hosting a series of town hall meetings across the entire country to acquire physician input on how to make better EHRs. Plus, physicians can post their EHR worries at breaktheredtape.org. The increasing volume of physician input is informing conversations that the AMA is finding out with numerous health IT players, ranging from government authorities to EHR vendors and trade organizations, on how to make better EHRs.
The federal Meaningful Use program has been standing in the way of required innovation, Stack recommends. “There is a desperate requirement to pull back on the over-burdensome needs and how the program mandates exactly how entire doctors in all settings must do few things. The program requires being far less prescriptive and permitting more innovation to occur, which means it has to prevent micromanaging so much facets of the experience.”
Physician frustration with Meaningful Use is depicted in participation rates, the AMA asserts. While 54% of physicians engaged in Stage 1 for at least 1 reporting period, fewer than 10% participated in Stage 2, in accordance to information in a recent AMA report.
The AMA was grateful to Slavitt claim the program will be revised in the year 2016, Stack states.
“We are cautiously expecting that we will be capable to sustain to work with CMS as it puts forward regulations for the new Medicare physician payment structure,” he states. “As we do that, we expect to fundamentally change and recalibrate the EHR component so it leaves much more discretion and choice to the physicians in their selection of these tools and how they utilize them, and focus much more on sufferer outcomes we are hoping to acquire.”
The AMA’s launch of Health2047 assists further the association’s interest in spurring “innovation in the private sector that is more aggressively responsive to physician input and uncertainty,” Stack claims.
The for-profit San Francisco concept lab targets to recognize, design and market out-of-the box solutions to challenging healthcare issues. AMA contributed $15 million in the startup and is presently identifying potential partners to cooperate with on promising concepts. “We have cast a wide and big net in hopes that we find the best possible ideas,” Stack states.
In a related move, the AMA is also teaming up with MATTER, an independent healthcare innovation accelerator in Chicago, situated less than a mile from the AMA headquarters. MATTER has brought together more than 100 healthcare technology startups. The AMA has a studio in MATTER’s Chicago workspace that enables physicians to work 1-on-1 with entrepreneurs in establishing promising digital technologies.
“Mobile and digital health are clearly going to transmit the way healthcare is given,” Stack states. “Our aim is not to make something glamorous and glitzy. We are trying to seek resolutions that will make the clinical experience improved for sufferers and physicians.”
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