New AMIA Chief Focuses on Real-World Medicine - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
Government // Leadership
News
3/20/2012
10:03 AM
50%
50%

New AMIA Chief Focuses on Real-World Medicine

Association's new CEO hopes to bridge gap between academia and in-the-trenches medical practice.

10 Top Medical Practice Management Software Systems
10 Top Medical Practice Management Software Systems
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
AMIA, formerly known as the American Medical Informatics Association, has gone outside its traditional realm of academia in choosing a new president and CEO. The Bethesda, Md.-based organization representing healthcare informatics professionals has hired Dr. Kevin M. Fickenscher from the consulting world to be its new chief executive.

Fickenscher hopes to accelerate the application of informatics from theoretical concepts of academia to real-world medical practice and bridge gaps between the two realms. "There's going to be very significant growth on the applied side," Fickenscher told InformationWeek Healthcare.

Fickenscher does have a background in academic medicine and is a leader in large integrated health systems, but he has been a health IT consultant for the last several years. He founded consulting firm CREO Strategic Solutions last year after serving as chief strategy and development officer for Dell Healthcare Services. Fickenscher joined Dell in 2009 when the company took over his previous employer, Perot Systems.

[ Is it time to re-engineer your Clinical Decision Support system? See 10 Innovative Clinical Decision Support Programs. ]

He previously served as chief medical officer at Catholic Healthcare West--now known as Dignity Health--and earlier for Milwaukee-based Aurora Health Care. Earlier, Fickenscher was an assistant dean at Michigan State University and at the University of North Dakota.

"I think there's been a splintering within the IT community," said Fickenscher, who joined AMIA Monday, though he does not become president and CEO until April 1. He is replacing Dr. Edward H. Shortliffe, who has held the top job at AMIA since longtime CEO Dr. Don Detmer retired in 2009.

Fickenscher believes IT professionals in healthcare need to put aside their differences and turf battles to work more closely together. He believes health informatics is about three things: increasing quality of care; reducing costs; and enhancing service to clinicians and patients alike.

"We have made, in this country in particular, major investments in health IT," Fickenscher noted. Someone will need to manage all the new information that this massive investment is producing. AMIA has been active over the years in promoting health IT workforce development programs. "There is ongoing need in the workforce," Fickenscher said.

"The answer for informatics is not just physicians or nurses," Fickenscher added, noting that non-clinicians have important roles to play. "AMIA can bring all of these people together," he said. Fickenscher would like to collaborate more closely with other health IT groups, including the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems (AMDIS), and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS).

AMIA dropped its full name--preferring to be known only by an acronym--last year as a way of demonstrating that its mission and focus is broader than just physicians and that the role of physicians in informatics is evolving.

"I do believe that the whole notion of how we practice medicine is going to change," Fickenscher said. There will be less touching of patients, he believes, as hands-on medicine gives way to telehealth under many circumstances. "This might change the notion of licensure," according to Fickenscher, as physicians push for states to recognize medical licenses issued elsewhere. Currently, most states require telehealth providers to be licensed in the state where the patient is located.

Policy regarding privacy and security of health information is changing as well. "We are going to take a really hard look at HIPAA," Fickenscher said, referring to the privacy and security regulations under the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). "Social media is undoing a lot of what HIPAA was built for."

The 2012 InformationWeek Healthcare IT Priorities Survey finds that grabbing federal incentive dollars and meeting pay-for-performance mandates are the top issues facing IT execs. Find out more in the new, all-digital Time To Deliver issue of InformationWeek Healthcare. (Free registration required.)

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of IT Report
In today's technology-driven world, "innovation" has become a basic expectation. IT leaders are tasked with making technical magic, improving customer experience, and boosting the bottom line -- yet often without any increase to the IT budget. How are organizations striking the balance between new initiatives and cost control? Download our report to learn about the biggest challenges and how savvy IT executives are overcoming them.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll