All eyes were on Cleveland last week when it hosted the Republication National Convention. However, the city also hosted an opportunity to raise the profile of healthcare information technology.
Cleveland is home to the HIMSS Innovation Center, which was created by the nation’s largest industry trade group to promote health IT and interoperability.
At last week’s convention, GOP delegates from around the country approved a political platform that lays out what they see as the current challenges facing the country and their proposed solutions. To be sure, repealing and replacing Obamacare remains a centerpiece of the 2016 convention’s platform. But, the agenda also gives a nod to the positive value and impact that health IT has had on the industry.
“We applaud the advance of technology in electronic medical records while affirming patient privacy and ownership of personal health information,” states this year’s Republican Platform.
According to John Paganini, senior manager of interoperability initiatives for HIMSS North America, Cleveland’s HIMSS Innovation Center helped to raise the profile of HIT among attendees of the convention.
The convention was “a tremendous opportunity to meet people from the media and politicians,” said Paganini. “It was just an amazing event. Members of the press were in the building. In fact, MSNBC set up shop here in our welcome area to interview former Senator Bob Dole.”
State delegates and national political leaders as well as the media were invited on July 18 to attend a morning session at the center entitled, “Game Changing Innovation: Health IT as a Catalyst for Healthcare Transformation.” According to Paganini, the RNC attendees now have a better understanding of the fact that with access to big data, “we can perform analytics and population health” thanks to all the information that is being collected.
Paganini says the goal of the center is to educate stakeholders about HIMSS and its HIT initiatives in analytics, cybersecurity and interoperability, as well as to “expose them to vendors that have products and services in those spaces.” He points to the fact that the center offers on-site and virtual interoperability testing and certification services.
HIMSS contends that its Innovation Center is “the only physical and virtual, state-of-the-art, testing, exhibition and conference facility that offers real-time demonstration of how healthcare technologies contribute to safer, higher quality and more cost-effective care.”
The organization boasts that the center is “the only location in the world where vendors can validate—with other industry players—how their health IT solutions simply and seamlessly integrate and operate with emerging technology; and a place where all visitors can experience interactive demonstrations to help them learn more about innovation, current health IT initiatives and the importance of health IT.”
Further, the HIMSS Innovation Center is touted as a “completely neutral environment,” which it says is a contrast to other interoperability and innovation resources that the organization contends are “transient, vendor/technology-biased or consulting-focused.” Paganini points to the center’s 18 industry companies that are collaborating on the project, which include Cardinal Health, CDW, Dell and Red Hat.
The 40,000-square-foot center, which opened in 2013, occupies the entire fourth floor of the Global Center for Health Innovation, where HIMSS is a tenant. The four-story Global Center taps into the region’s healthcare leaders, including Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, MetroHealth Medical Center, Sisters of Charity Health System and other leading medical institutions. The Global Center, which is owned by Cuyahoga County, also includes vendor tenants such as Cisco, GE, Philips and Siemens, according to Paganini.
Going forward, he says the HIMSS Innovation Center in October will host the Cleveland Medical Hackathon, the second year that it has participated. The hackathon will tackle challenges of cyber threats to healthcare organizations in which teams will be asked to present their solutions to a panel of judges, who will make awards.
“We’re continually growing,” concludes Paganini, who adds that the center furthers “HIMSS objectives to serve as the health sector’s IT innovation hub.”
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