For most of our readers who spend their careers implementing information technology in healthcare settings, I'm sure it feels like they're running a marathon that never ends.
No sooner do they cross the ICD-10 finish line than another technology challenge appears. There are new twists and turns along the meaningful use course, and new mile markers to reflect changes in reimbursement incentives. HIT executives slog through multiple obstacles in the form of quickly evolving technology. It's a marathon without any real finish line. No spectators to cheer you on, no shiny medal for accomplishing the feat.
The beauty of the HIT marathon is that the progress toward the goal is very meaningful. Ask chief medical information officers. Many CMIOs have helped lead their organizations through the arduous process of implementing electronic health records systems; now, with that behind them, they're moving on to try to capitalize on the massive investment in information technology.
In our cover story starting on page 12, Linda Wilson writes about the scope of the shift for CMIOs, currently working on refining the technology and work processes to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of patient care. Those will be key drivers for healthcare organizations that increasingly will be reimbursed for the value-not the volume-of the healthcare they provide.
Another course change for healthcare providers is the growing role that patient collections is playing in revenue cycle management. As consumers opt for insurance plans with higher deductibles, providers find themselves in the new and somewhat uncomfortable position of engaging patients in discussions about payments. Managing Editor Greg Slabodkin's article on page 18 discusses how providers are adopting technology to assist them in establishing and managing payment options.
Finally, imaging informatics executives are finding their entire business model in turmoil. Value-based care is changing the game for an aspect of healthcare that's been heavily vested in handling and increasing volume. As healthcare organizations merge and combine, and depend on digital systems to share information, sharing images and related reports becomes increasingly important.
A roundtable discussion of imaging informatics experts, which I moderated this summer, begins on page 20, and enthused participants share passionate views about the many new curves facing radiology professionals.
Whether you're just hitting your stride or "hitting the wall" in your HIT race, you'll find some support and knowledge in this issue to help keep you running.
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