Health IT

Social network platform designed to help hospitals collaborate on health IT issues

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYpc-DAXAbY&feature=youtu.be The massive consolidation of physician practices, hospitals and health systems coupled with the transformative changes stemming from Obamacare and the HITECH Act has left medical professionals with a lot of questions. They vary from best practices for rolling out ICD-10 to pros and cons of Bring Your Own Device. A new social network to […]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYpc-DAXAbY&feature=youtu.be

The massive consolidation of physician practices, hospitals and health systems coupled with the transformative changes stemming from Obamacare and the HITECH Act has left medical professionals with a lot of questions. They vary from best practices for rolling out ICD-10 to pros and cons of Bring Your Own Device. A new social network to connect staff inside and outside their health systems wants to help them collaborate on health IT and other issues these groups face.

The launch of Next Wave Connect has come less than a month after Next Wave Health initiated the cloud-based infrastructure to support it. The head of Next Wave Connect, Drex DeFord, has served as the CIO of Seattle Children’s Hospital and as a chief technology officer in the Air Force Health System.

In an interview with MedCity News, DeFord said he has learned from his professional experience the importance of collaboration.At Stewart Healthcare where he was  CIO, he said he loved collaborating across other departments but added “I hated someone stepping in and saying ‘this is the way you will do this.'”

Among the topics the groups will discuss will be Meaningful Use, social media, security and privacy and accountable care organizations. Given the fact that many health systems include lots of hospitals, DeFord said he could envision a scenario in which two hospitals with cardiac surgery departments collaborate on standardizing procedures.

He said although collaboration is necessary it can be tough to establish. Noting the number of healthcare workers who used to be in the military, he said he would correspond with a group by  email to exchange insights but it was tough to sustain.

“Most healthcare organizations try really hard to exchange ideas and solve problems in simple ways. Particularly on issues like ICD-10, which affects everyone.”

In addition to organizations collaborating between themselves there will be community advisers and community managers to help set up communities and stimulate discussions by proposing certain issues they may not have addressed. They also can connect users to industry experts such as Intermountain Healthcare CIO Mark Probst and University of Virginia Health System CIO Rich Skinner.

So far, it has signed up 26 health systems made up of 425 hospitals in 31 states. Among the early subscribers are DeFord’s former employer Seattle Children’s Hospital, Cedars–Sinai Medical Center, Rush University Medical Center, and Sharp HealthCare. The idea is include every model of healthcare such as integrated delivery networks with small group practices, accountable care organizations, academic medical centers, children’s hospitals, research institutes, and community hospitals.

Each community will be able to choose whether it’s open or private. It charges annual subscription fees based on individuals and institutions. It will also generate revenue from advertising. Android and iPhone apps will be available this week.

Beyond collaborating with peers at other hospitals, members will also be able to work with payers and health IT vendors.  Several social networks are dedicated to physician, nurse and patient communities. Some of them put a premium on access by groups that sell to physicians, for example, such as pharmaceutical companies.

DeFord added that it might highlight some of the community discussions in a summary that could be accessed by paying members. It makes a lot of sense to compile this information and package it since health IT vendors would put a high value on what community members have to say.  DeFord said that additional features would be added when it gets a better sense of how members use the network.

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