Whew, what a whirlwind! Foothold has truly never experienced something like the HIMSS14 conference before, and there is much to discuss. Here are some of my biggest takeaways.
First, the Health Story Project. For those who aren’t familiar, the Health Story Project is a part of the HIMSS Interoperability Showcase, a large room where dozens of Health Information systems work on various projects aimed at displaying the exchange of data. For example, one project included various EHRs querying the national SureScripts database looking for a particular patient’s records. Our project, the Health Story, focused on a woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to make a decision with her doctors about the kind of surgery she wanted, have various medications prescribed, and attend several follow-up visits with various doctors and psychiatrists. The actual work of the project was in receiving, adding to, and then sending along a Consolidated CDA (CCDA). In our case, the CCDA was used to exchange a Care Plan, something only two Behavioral Health systems at HIMSS were capable of (Foothold being one of them!).
The Showcase entailed multiple tour groups coming through the room and watching 15 minute demonstrations from each of the dozen projects that were on display. Groups traveled from all around the world to view the Showcase; we saw attendees from Holland, China, the Middle East, everywhere! Our Director of Application Development, Shulamis Turin, was the lead for the Foothold segment. She walked attendees through the process of a Psychiatrist requesting and viewing the CCDA that the other doctors caring for this woman contributed to. It was an inspiring example of what technology can make possible in Healthcare, and, even more than that, it was a harbinger of how Behavioral Health will one day become a regular part of the Health Care industry in this country.
BH Enters Main Stream Conversation on Health Information Tech
Being one of the only Behavioral Health EHRs at the conference was an invaluable experience. When people we met took the time to think about what this really means – the fact that we represent organizations providing mental health services, substance abuse services, developmental disabilities services, and so on – they stopped in their tracks. It was almost as if we were redefining their image of what health information technology could be. One of the most important things to come out of this conference for us was precisely this ability to insert behavioral health into every conversation we had. Whether speaking to our fellow technology vendors or government representatives, the shift in thinking on whether and how to include Behavioral Health into the mainstream of health information was palpable. These conversations led many to actually consider the positive impacts that access to BH data could produce – access that is almost never available currently.
We were able to make a significant number of connections with organizations and began many partnership conversations that will have a positive impact on all of our clients in the not-too-distant future. And the ideas were endless! From sending and receiving lab orders to new ways of organizing and searching through legacy paper records, everyone was excited to talk about the latest technologies on the industry’s cutting edge. These ideas, if integrated with our AWARDS software, will mean huge things for our clients, bringing them brand new, high technology products and services that will bring them closer to complete integration with Primary Healthcare. We look forward to working on many of these projects over the course of the year, and we think these connections will prove to have a positive impact for all AWARDS users.
Foothold was honored to be a part of such an esteemed event and proud to show that Behavioral Health is ready, willing, and able to do our part in providing care at a lower cost for our most vulnerable citizens. In the coming weeks, we will be releasing some video from the event and HIMSS will be posting materials from the Health Story. We will be sure to pass these along as they become available.