President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union Address is under analysis quite extensively this week. Although I did not have one of my “jump-out-of-my seat because-POTUS-mentioned-health IT-in-the- speech” moments, “I’m encouraged by three areas where health IT can join the conversation.They are:
- precision medicine initiative,
- veterans’ employment and training, and
- US exports.
HIMSS members have been focused for several years on these areas. I want to share our experiences and offer some member-level insight on the role health IT can have in each of these areas.
Precision Medicine: The President referenced the fact that genomic information can help personalize the care delivered to individuals, so we “lead a new era of medicine: one that delivers the right treatment at the right time.”
I have to give former HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt kudos for kick-starting health IT’s involvement in this initiative back in 2005-6, when he had the American Health Information Committee (yes, the old AHIC) begin to investigate how genomic information should be collected, stored, and presented for clinicians and researchers to help personalize care delivery. We may have been scratching our heads back then, but 10 years later, science has caught up, and health IT is better prepared.
For HIMSS, our Clinical & Business Intelligence and Clinical Informatics initiatives have supported this effort, and Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) was involved in supporting AHIC and the Bush-era former Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel (HITSP).
Veterans’ Initiatives: The President spent considerable time on the job-creation theme, including employment and training opportunities for veterans. HIMSS’ Veterans Career Services initiative, a subcomponent of the HIMSS Career Resource Center, is bringing new participants to health IT workforce training.
We are interested in working with healthcare community colleagues, and federal, state, and local governments, to improve the visibility of workforce development programs. These programs can launch and support internships and fellowships that give students and transitioning professionals real-world experience. It’s an important fix.
Export opportunities: We heard President Obama talk about the fact that 95% of the world population is outside the United States. HIMSS has been working for several years with the Department of Commerce to support the National Export Initiative. Together, we have shared, with domestic companies and healthcare organizations, various export opportunities, lessons learned, and health IT solutions U.S. organizations are using to improve care coordination and quality improvement.
For our part, HIMSS is educating our local chapters on ways to work with the 43 local and regional offices the Commerce Department has around the country to organize local and state-based health IT as export education sessions.
What else did you hear during the State of the Union, and how do you think HIMSS should engage?