Health IT, Economics Summit Focuses on Health Care Reform

The summit will cover health insurance exchanges and how social media and mobile technologies spur patient engagement and impact health outcomes.

The rate at which information technology is changing the health care industry will be the main focus of the fourth annual Workshop on Health IT and Economics (WHITE) in Washington D.C., where experts from academia, industry and government will gather for two days starting Nov. 15.

Organized by the Center for Health Information and Decision Systems (CHIDS) in the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business, the summit will cover such topics as health insurance exchanges and how social media and mobile technologies are spurring patient engagement and impacting health outcomes.

Rachael Fleurence, who leads the research prioritization initiative at the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, will give an opening keynote speech. The institute has approved about 200 awards totaling more than $273.5 million to fund patient-centered comparative clinical effectiveness research projects.

"The workshop is designed to deliver the latest research, inspire innovation and accelerate healthcare transformation at the intersection of health IT and economics," program chair Ritu Agarwal, UMD-Smith professor and chair of Information Systems and CHIDS' founding co-director, said in a statement. "The timing is especially critical with the health care industry challenged by the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act."

Some panel topics include health IT and costs and a discussion on the Internet and health, while a cluster of research presentations will cover the use of electronic medical records in U.S. hospitals, consistency in the use of electronic health records, and geographic variation in health IT and health care outcomes.

Other topics include a look at the progress and challenges with the implementation and use of electronic health records, health information exchange as a multisided platform, the sustainability of health information exchanges, access to health care and online health information seeking, and the impact of electronic health records on hospital-acquired patient safety events.

Supported by, among others, the United States Agency for Health Research and Quality (AHRQ), each year WHITE has convened nearly 100 participants from more than 40 institutes, according to the event's Website.

CHIDS and CNSI, an IT solutions specialist, recently announced a partnership that marries innovation from industry with scientific research to reduce health care billing fraud, waste and abuse.

CNSI's ClaimsSure solution can analyze sets of big data to detect fraud, waste and abuse and assess a health care claim's risk, driving efficiency and cost savings through predictive probability analysis.

As part of the completion of this project, CHIDS will work with CNSI to develop a white paper that will coincide with a webinar for industry stakeholders and policymakers discussing this health IT innovation. Their research findings will be compiled for publication.

Research leaders at CHIDS are collaborating with CNSI engineers to conduct a series of technical, operational and economic assessments to explore ClaimsSure’s modeling approach and effectiveness.