David Muntz is a leader in the nation's efforts to modernize healthcare. He currently is principal at Muntz and Company and previously was principal deputy at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) – Located within the Office of the Secretary for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) coordinates nationwide ... More, CIO at both Baylor Health and Texas Health Resources, and the CIO at GetWellNetwork.
We are excited that Mr. Muntz will provide the keynote presentation at Corepoint Connect 2016, our annual user group conference, Oct. 12-14. (Read the official news release.) David was kind enough to answer a few questions about the current state of the industry in the following Q&A, which also touches on some of the important topics he will address during his upcoming keynote presentation.
You’ve worked in large health systems, the ONC, and with a health IT vendor working to improve patient and family engagement. Do those very different segments of health IT have any overlap? Or do they operate in very different worlds?
Life begins as a patient and family activity. Without the family (the mother in most cases), the child would not survive. At the end of our lives when the patient becomes incapacitated, it’s common to see a return to a patient and family model. And if you think about what happens between those two parts of our lives, healthcare is a patient and family activity for the whole of our lives.
In the case of patient and family engagement, both the public and private sector talk a great deal about patient and family engagement, but when you see where the money in health IT is invested, it’s primarily for the providers. Fortunately, that trend is changing. There was language in Meaningful Use focused on patients and families, so the public sector was focused on their well-being (pun intended).
At the same time, every private sector provider organization says they put the patient at the center of everything they do and we’re beginning to see more investments in improving the patient and family experience. Chief Experience Officers are more common. I think the public and private sector motives and intentions are aligned, but there is plenty of room for improvement in the policies and practices in both sectors before the patient and families have the policies, tools, and attention they deserve.
Most, if not all, of our customers have had great success creating interoperability for their operations, yet we continue to hear so much from the ONC and the HHS about the need to eliminate data blocking by Electronic Health Record (EHR), as defined in Defining Key Health Information Technology Terms (The National Alliance for Health Information Technology, April 28, 2008): An electronic record of health-related information on an individual that conform... More vendors. What actions do you think EHR vendors should take to alleviate or reduce these concerns?
I’m not sure that data blocking as an intentional act is as common as many think.
Interoperability refers to the ability of two or more systems or components to exchange information and to use the information that has been exchanged. is challenging. All of the elements for interoperability exist, some in a more nascent state than others. Changing the people, processes, and technologies to ensure that data that is sent is relevant, that it can be understood and used by the recipient, and that it will have a favorable impact on the workflows of providers and lifeflows of patients remains the single greatest challenge.
We need to take all of the pieces of the puzzle and lay them out together as we move forward. Then interoperability can proceed at a fast pace, but we must be careful to honor the legacy systems that are in place and work, though maybe not as efficiently as we’d wish. I plan to lay out the six essential puzzle pieces during Corepoint Health’s upcoming user group meeting.
How have the roles of the CIO changed since your time as CIO at Baylor Health?
The CIO role is always changing. The CIO’s challenge is to ensure that they’re evolving to meet the new challenges. It seems obvious to say, but the CIO needs to be a true clinical, business, and operations partner with all members of the C-suite.
Analytics probably is the most challenging of activities within an organization, and working collaboratively with other members of the C-suite to ensure that analytics is residing in the right areas, that the right questions are being asked, that the right data is being collected, and that all of this is done securely, efficiently, and meaningfully is critical.
Cloud computing, data security, data interoperability, and data analytics are regularly cited as the most important issues hospitals deal with daily. Can you see any of these issues going away in the next 5 years? Or are they here to stay?
They’re the foundation for the way we’ll continue to conduct business. Each of the elements, as has been the case with all of information technology, will become more complex and more useful. They are “table stakes” for participating in healthcare in the future. Every organization will need expertise in each of these critical areas.
We’re looking forward to having you present the keynote at Corepoint Connect 2016, our annual user conference. What message would you like to convey to our attendees?
The key to the future lies in combining people, processes, and technologies to ensure that the right data for the right patient appears at the right time, in the right location, in the right format, and for the right reasons to deliver the right care.
The people who have architected and provided Corepoint and the people who are using Corepoint are essential players in making these rights work for the patients and families in our communities. It’s an honor to be able to share some ideas and engage in a dialog about the importance of Corepoint customers’ work.