Health information technology (IT) is likely playing a bigger role at your medical practice this year than it did last year. As technology constantly evolves, practices need to know what they should focus their attention on as these tools continue to become valuable assets for you and your staff.
At this year's Medical Group Management Association Annual Conference in San Diego, Derek Kosiorek (@kosiorek) will help attendees sort it all out. Kosiorek is a principal in the MGMA Healthcare Consulting Group and has been evaluating and implementing technology solutions for healthcare organizations for 13 years.
We recently caught up with him in San Diego to learn how his two sessions, both on Monday, Oct. 7, can help attendees and some things non-attendees should start thinking about.
Q. What are three key technology issues practices are facing today?
A. Medical practices are facing significant challenges in many areas, one of which is that technology is advancing faster than the processes they can put in place to support it. It's quite a challenge to keep things updated when things change so quickly.
I think another challenge is the transition to cloud-based technology — what do you keep in your office and what do you move to the cloud? Quite frankly, most software engineering is geared toward developing toward the cloud, not to the client-server architecture we have place now.
A third challenge is interoperability; moving the information between one office and another and the ability to get it back. Technology is nothing more than a tool to move the information and manage the information. So I think practices are finding that as a big challenge.
Q. Tell us what makes one of your Monday sessions — "IT in Healthcare: Where We Are and Where We're Going" (2-3 p.m.) — a little unique?
A. I am moderating a panel [on Monday, Oct. 7] and it is a little different than a normal session. Most sessions at MGMA are educational session, but this one is more analysis. We have a panel of health IT luminaries that will come enlighten and talk to us about trends and things that are going on in healthcare. We'll also have a live Twitter feed so that participants can participate along with social media.
Q. Your second Monday session is "Time for an EHR Optimization Check Up?" (3:15-3:45 p.m.). Tell us why this is such and important issue for medical practices.
A. We know that a lot of practices have evolved to the point where they've gotten past the initial implementation. They've gone live, but they can't just take a breath and relax. They've got to start thinking of how to better use the EHR. We are going to try and have them focus on, "What did you hope to get out of it in the first place?" Before they even implemented the EHR, we'll ask what some of the goals [were at the beginning]. If you take a look at some of those goals, you should be able to identify and create metrics so you can measure from when you started the EHR implementation. That's really the first step toward optimizing the use of your EHR.