Innovation is tough amid today's regulatory checklists. These leaders are getting it done.
Dan Moriarty CIO, Atrius Health
Michael Lee Director of Informatics, Atrius Health
CIO, Atrius Health
In the years ahead, more healthcare providers will get paid based on whether they keep people healthy. Atrius Health is "already very deeply into the new world," says CIO Dan Moriarty, with more than half of its revenue coming from this risk-based model.
Atrius Health is Massachusetts' largest independent physician group, and it's one of 32 pioneer accountable care organizations, working with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to test the ACO model. As an ACO, Atrius Health has financial risk because "if we have low cost and low quality, or high cost and high quality, we will end up losing money on the deal," says Dr. Michael Lee, Atrius Health's director of informatics.
Health IT plays a strategic role in helping Atrius Health meet its ACO goals. One important way is improving information sharing with the many hospitals Atrius Health works with.
As CIO, Moriarty has led a standardization effort that now has all 50 of Atrius Health's locations on the same platforms, including Epic electronic health records and common practice management, imaging and radiology systems. Standardization makes data sharing easier within Atrius Health and with the 35 hospitals to which Atrius Health has 200 or more admissions in a year.
If an Atrius Health patient goes to a hospital, physicians can use a Web portal to look the person up; they can click one button and data from the hospital stay will be added to the Epic record. Atrius Health created the first such link with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and now has them with 16 providers, about half of which let the hospital bring data in from physician records as well. Five more are in the works.
Director of Informatics, Atrius Health
The next leap is automating data exchange without a patient lookup; the first attempt went live this year. Using the state's new Mass HIway health information exchange, a patient arriving at the emergency room automatically triggers a message to the primary care doctor's inbox in the Epic EHR. That inbox is the place "every one of our doctors go every day to do their jobs," Moriarty says, so it's part of their routine. Using the HIE protocol standards means Atrius Health can use the same Epic integration to the HIE with other state hospitals.
In his informatics role, Lee focuses on giving clinicians data to make better decisions at the point of care. Lee, a pediatrician, is one of several clinicians at Atrius Health who practices medicine and helps shape technology strategy. He helps set the priorities and designs for clinical support systems, and Moriarty's IT teams does the technical work, project management and training.
Measuring outcomes takes a lot of work documenting what Atrius Health does, Lee says, and some of that data entry falls on already-busy doctors. Lee acknowledges that tension as one of the most difficult elements of health IT. Also difficult are regulatory requirements, such as moving to ICD-10 and meeting Meaningful Use standards, which dominate today's priority list. But Lee sees healthcare pros accepting the digital future: "Though people complain about electronic records, no one wants to go back to paper."