The chief physician of Walt Disney World stopped by HIMSS14 in Orlando to impart some health I.T. wisdom learned from keeping tabs on the company’s sprawling workforce, numbering more than 60,000 workers in Florida alone and around 150,000 globally.

Speaking a few minutes from his home office, Michael Hankins, M.D., said it’s critical health I.T. benefit all parties involved--providers, employers and employees.

“It is really important to engage and make sure all three … understand the advocacy within the employer base,” he said. “Employers don’t need access to confidential information, but are highly motivated to help individuals who work for them stay healthy –very often they don’t know how or what to do.”

To overcome this, Disney has turned to technology innovations, which Harkins called a “great enabler.” These enabling tools allow nurses and medical providers to show Disney’s “cast members”—all employees are considered cast members--ways of avoiding unhealthy behaviors and also the ramifications of those behaviors, such as obesity and a sedentary lifestyle clearing a path for heart disease.

Turning to HIT vendors, he implored them to be more "agile" to meet the different security and software requirements of their employer clients, including secure messaging capability to and from outside stakeholders and interoperability. As a worldwide organization, Disney operates on many information systems and it’s critical its software work in harmony.

Employee engagement also is important, and it’s contingent upon easy access to information. Disney provides cast members with the ability to access most of their medical records online as well as schedule appointments. Supervisors have access to limited information online about cast members, including views of the number of injuries, days off and days missed, all information that is “very useful for managing a workforce,” Hankins said.

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