The other health IT industry

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Apr 24, 2018

Healthcare information technology as an industry reflects familiar patterns, be it in the news or as an element of healthcare delivery or as a market. And as an aside it is all too often framed as the pros and cons of electronic health records.


Satisfaction surveys, buying and selling, mergers and acquisitions, breathless innovation announcements, Congressional and regulatory attention and movement by “disrupters” like Apple and Amazon keep the headlines buzzing and major competitors up at night.


Through it all I’m happy to report there’s another aspect of the health IT industry deeply involved in improving healthcare and sustainability through non-profit and philanthropic means.

Focus on heart failure

Simply put, heart failure kills more Americans annually than all forms of cancer combined, but there’s no moon shot in the offing.


And what is heart failure? A heart attack? A stroke? Coronary artery disease? Factors yes, but not the “heart” of the chronic condition, really a decline over time where the heart muscle declines and pumping falters. Incidents can lead to or exacerbate heart failure, but it’s a long-term chronic condition impacted as much by behavior and lifestyle and precursors such as hypertension and diabetes.


Sometimes hard to define and educate patients on, heart failure sounds like an incident but really it’s a preventable disease.


So yes, there are two global, non-profit projects focusing on heart failure I’ve been fortunate enough to participate in as part of the health IT industry.

Global Coalition on Aging

The Global Coalition on Aging is a multidisciplinary organization dedicated to an array of healthy aging initiatives. Its core supporters range from Philips and Deloitte and Pfizer to Nutricia, S&P Global and Home Instead Senior Care to Bayer, BlackRock and Aegon.


For its recent summit on “Re-Framing Heart Failure in the Context of Active Aging,” the coalition welcomed representatives from the Ronald O. Perelman Heart Institute, the American Association of Heart Failure Nurses, the World Heart Federation, the Ad Council, Mended Hearts, the Cardiovascular Nurses Association and many more to tackle awareness, messaging, policy, delivery/prevention and other tangible ways to educate patients and providers on heart failure.


Attendees came to New York for this event from Ireland, Switzerland and other compass points.


Where would health IT fit in?


Organizations like the coalition understand that remote patient monitoring, telehealth, in-home medication dispensers and connectivity to the providers office is the present, and future, of chronic care management seeking improved intervention outcomes and an impact on hospital admissions, readmissions, ER visits and overall quality of life.


Coalition goals and certainly the goals of global companies like Philips are to find ways to scale these types of care management, improve provider engagement into these care paths and of course activate patients to take a proactive role in preventing or managing an often-misunderstood chronic condition.

The World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum has launched a pilot program in Atlanta to create new approaches toward value-based care models focused on heart failure intervention and treatment that can impact the $30 billion in annual costs in the U.S.


Here the mindshare ranges from the American Heart Association, Georgia Department of Public Health and Morehouse School of Medicine to Wellstar, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Resurgens Atlanta and the city of Atlanta, among others.


Initial actions in this project are to define targeted populations, examine what is underway, what works and what needs to be done to bring all stakeholders together on ways to construct viable value-based care models that providers and payers can embrace.


What’s the health IT role here?


Data analytics, risk stratification, patient tracking, quality reporting, performance metrics and of course data exchange. Philips’ new social determinants of health dashboard scoring technology can also be of aid here, as it can to the Global Coalition’s efforts.

Bridging the two initiatives

Yes, if it hasn’t dawned on you by now, it certainly did with me early on, by way of memberships and attending both projects.


Shouldn’t these two organizations be aware of each other and seek ways to work together? I’m happy to report that the connection was made, and that the World Economic Forum lead in the Atlanta pilot attended the Global Coalition’s summit in New York.


That is also what the other health IT industry can accomplish.

About the author

Greg Fulton

Greg Fulton,
Industry & Public Policy Lead, Philips

Greg Fulton is Industry & Public Policy Lead for Philips PHM. He has extensive health IT experience in government relations at Congressional, Health & Human Services, state and industry organizational levels. He is a current member of the CommonWell Health Alliance Government Affairs Advisory Council and the HIMSS Government Relations Roundtable.

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