Saturday, March 9, 2013

President Clinton on Health IT at HIMSS 2013

Former President Bill Clinton’s keynote on March 6th at the 2013 HIMSS Annual Conference & Exhibition ranged from politics to economics, and from climate change to health information technology. I was very fortunate as part of the Healthcare Transformation Project to have front row seats, so I have a few clips below where he specifically highlights the critical importance of health IT to transforming our healthcare systems. One of the tweets streaming by during his talk (there was a LOT of tweeting going on during #HIMSS13 :) was this one from @cascadia:

So first up and very exciting for me, early in the talk he came right out with praise for the work the HIMSS Healthcare Transformation Project is doing and the commitment from HIMSS to support this important work. He also showed gratitude for the partnership of Clinton Health Matters Initiative (CHMI) with Verizon and GE.

He then went on to discuss how healthcare information technology can help with lowering costs and engaging patients. He drew an analogy between the success of relief efforts during the tsunami as well as the earthquake in Haiti, and how technology can be used in similar ways to not only improve healthcare quality, but also health access.

Next he discussed how important systems are for success. Information and communications technologies and systems-engineering tools will be used to help realize vision of a patient-centered healthcare system. He said, "At some point in the life of every nation, almost every major system  gets long in the tooth." He then went on to explain the critical importance of some of the changes which are necessary.

He then later went in to some of the work being done by CHMI, as well as the Alliance for a Healthier Generation in combating obesity. Their agreement with the American Beverage Association has contributed to a 90% reduction in calories from beverages shipped to schools between the 2004-2010 school years, according to a report published in the American Journal of Public Health. The private market approach and the willingness of the business community to collaborate in the area of reducing obesity has had some stunning results. There was one hilarious moment where Mr. Clinton accidentally said "there has to be a way to sell drugs, ummmm, drinks in school and still make money." He then recovered nicely with "some people think sugar is a drug."

In one of my favorite moments President Clinton stated how much he liked Blue Button. Blue Button epitomizes the idea that people should be able to access and download their own health information. He also spoke of the importance of price transparency. He cited Pennsylvania which every year publishes comparative data on health procedures, including how much they cost and the measurable results.

There was a lot happening at the HIMSS conference this year, so keep your eye out for more posts on some interesting topics.

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