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AFCEA Health IT Day 2013 Recap


Data interoperability, the adoption gap, and Healthcare Information Technology (“HIT”) innovations were key discussion topics at this year’s Sixth Annual Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association’s (“AFCEA”) Health IT Day in Bethesda, MD.

Throughout the conference, a strong emphasis was placed on the need for agency platform interoperability.  Currently, each healthcare agency operates within its own individual system, which have been uniquely designed and integrated to meet the needs of the respective agency.  However, in order to share data (e.g., test results, scans, medical records) with other hospitals or agencies, all platforms would need to share a common standard to allow each platform to connect in some facet with other healthcare systems.  If developed, this interoperability among agencies, research labs, and hospitals will provide the healthcare industry with opportunity to increase data collaboration, enhance research, and improve patient care.

A common theme discussed at the event was perception that the healthcare industry has fallen behind technology trends due to the associated challenges of the adoption gap.  HIT continues to innovate at a rapid pace, making it difficult for agencies and companies alike to fully incorporate new technology practices and methods.  In addition, many agencies lack the resources to perform large-scale HIT overhauls.

Finally, with the increased adoption of mobile, video, and tablet interfaces, HIT executives feel the need to move beyond traditional hospital interaction and engage with patients across the entire spectrum.  This shift away from the typical “clinical model” creates opportunities for contractors to develop next generation ideas and new platforms.  One idea that was discussed included real-time dashboards that show a patient’s specific health information when accessed through an iPhone / Android app.  Another was the use of video and tablets to allow healthcare providers to move healthcare to a patient’s home, community, or elsewhere, creating a more patient-friendly environment that professionals hope will lead to increased engagement.

All in all, this year’s conference featured approximately 600 senior-executives and IT professionals from across the public and private healthcare industry, all with the intention of fostering better inter-agency communication among key stakeholders, identifying mission-critical IT issues that strengthen program management, and aligning the acquisition and budget process with the technology cycle.