- The American Medical Association (AMA) has announced a new health and technology collaborative aimed at improving data sharing and patient care.
- The Integrated Health Model Initiative (IHMI) supports a shared framework for organizing health data, with a focus on patient-centric information and finding those data elements most predictive of enhanced outcomes.
- All health and technology stakeholders are welcome to join IHMI, the AMA says. Current collaborators include IBM, Cerner, Intermountain Healthcare, the American Heart Association and the American Medical Informatics Association.
While healthcare has made some progress in interoperability, those strides have mainly focused on finding and transmitting information and not on usability. In a recent analysis in Health Affairs, for example, just 18.7% of hospitals reported often using patient data from outside providers to inform patient care decisions.
Fewer than three in 10 hospitals engaged in all four interoperability measures identified by the researchers: finding, sending, receiving and integrating electronic patient information.
“We spend more than three trillion dollars a year on healthcare in America and generate more health data than ever before. Yet some of the most meaningful data — data to unlock potential improvements in patient outcomes — is fragmented, inaccessible or incomplete,” AMA CEO James Madara said in a statement. “The collaborative effort of IHMI will help the health system learn how to collect, organize and exchange patient-centered data in a common structure that captures what is most important for improving care and long-term wellness, and transform the data into a rich stream of accessible and actionable information.”
Early efforts are focused on costly and burdensome areas of need, such as hypertension management and diabetes prevention, a clinical validation process to identify and apply appropriate clinical frameworks and a model to encode information in the IHMI data model, the AMA said.
There has been a growing push lately to expand the use of EHRs and maximize their benefits for patient care. Allscripts and other legacy EHR companies have begun to embrace open platforms and a more connected digital experience. Last month, Epic launched a global interoperability platform called Share Everywhere that lets patients grant access to their personal data to any provider with internet access, regardless of whether they have EHRs.
Epic CEO Judy Faulkner recently suggested a shift in focus from EHR to CHR — comprehensive health record — to recognize the increasing role of social determinants in predicting and improving health outcomes.
That way of thinking meshes with IHMI’s view that having a complete patient snapshot, from healthy to sick to treatment and beyond, will produce the best outcomes.