Linda Kloss spoke with Health IT Strategist this week, just before going to Seattle for the 80th American Health Information Management Association convention, which officially opens Monday, although some of the preliminary activities start Saturday.
Kloss, AHIMA's chief executive officer, said that 220 companies are expected to be exhibiting this year. Were on budget and on plan, she said. Were going in there with about 3,000 registrants, plus the exhibit personnel.
AHIMA no longer organizes its annual conventions around a specific theme, Kloss said, but the general sessions will be used this year to showcase future issues, she said.
Monday, the sessions will focus on the predicted effects of personalized medicine in healthcare on treatment and ethics, she said.
The emphasis will be from the patients perspective, Kloss said. Were opening with three different speakers on managing genetic information.
Tuesday, CMS acting Administrator Kerry Weems will be the general session speaker; he is expected to talk about Medicare and Medicaid policies in the waning days of the Bush administration. Also Tuesday, Weve invited Jonathan Perlin to take us forward, Kloss said. Perlin, a physician, is the chief medical officer and president of clinical services for HCA. Perlin is the former Bush administration undersecretary of health at the Veterans Affairs Department and a member of HHS Secretary Mike Leavitts American Health Information Community as well as co-founder and member of the board of directors of the newly formed AHIC Successor.
On Wednesday, Kloss said, Well focus on the personal health record with an expert panel, including the consumer perspective. One of the scheduled panelists is Grad Conn, representing the Seattle areas IT giant, Microsoft Corp., which entered the PHR market last year with its HealthVault personal health-record platform. Conn is the senior director of product marketing for Microsofts Health Solutions Group.
As consumers understand their information rights more, and weve certainly taken steps to help them understand more, theyre going to want direct access to their information and want it shared with a Dossia or a Google or another shared personal information vendor. Theyre going to want systems that are robust enough. It presents privacy and security challenges and information management challenges, but we certainly believe consumers have a right to have access to their health information.
With the nations financial systems in crisis, the ability of providers to finance new healthcare information technology systems is in jeopardy.
I think the broad economic crisis is certainly going to put the pressure on purchasers (of healthcare) and theyre going to ratchet up the pressure on insurers, so it is going to hit us real soon, Kloss said. I firmly believe that at whatever pace this rolls out were going to be having to find hundreds of billions of dollars in savings to do it. There wont be new money to do it. Its going to have to be a thoughtful and effective reallocation of existing dollars. It will take effective leadership; however, it will be done.
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