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A few weeks ago, we joined some 37,000 of our closest friends for the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) annual conference. HIMSS is a cause-based, not-for-profit organization focused on providing global leadership for the optimal use of information technology and management systems for the betterment of health care.
The annual conference not only brought a huge crowd, but this year experienced record-breaking first time attendance and offered participants more than 300 educational opportunities. One week almost wasn’t enough time!
During the conference, there were a few trends that resounded with the pharmacy portion of the audience. Healthcare Information Exchange (HIE) was certainly a theme, and many conversations involved organizational willingness to participate in HIE initiatives for the betterment of health care. Many agree that exchanging patient medication history electronically with providers can enhance patient care.
Further, several educational sessions addressed performing the exchange of such patient medication history in real-time. When a patient has provided consent for the caregiver to access his or her information, the caregiver should be able to access that information quickly. We continue to explore proactive ways to provide real-time patient medication histories to the physician end-users.
Another burgeoning theme at HIMSS was the concept of providing e-prescribing services in a non-EDI environment. While the pharmacy industry has experienced a major move toward e-prescribing, there are still providers and pharmacies that operate in nontechnical ways. How can we best serve both communities in an era of meaningful use incentives? And, as e-prescribing continues to provide better patient outcomes while also improving the cost of health care, many are asking, "what's next?"
At HIMSS, there was quite a buzz around mobile technology as well. Thought leaders believe it may be time to get the patient more involved in the e-prescribing workflow process. Text messaging and other forms of communication could prove to be effective in helping the patient stay connected when it comes to his or her electronic prescriptions. These types of communications also can enable pharmacies to provide important healthcare messages to the patient, meanwhile keeping the patient informed about a variety of pertinent pharmacy topics. Whether, for example, it is providing messaging to the patient that prescriptions are available for pickup or that the local pharmacy has scheduled a flu clinic, timely alerts to the patient can have multiple healthcare benefits.
Overall, HIMSS was a jam-packed, educational and informative conference, and it was truly a benefit to gather the various parties together to work toward “transforming health care through IT.”
VP of pharmacy sales
Richard Brook is VP of pharmacy sales for Emdeon and is responsible for enterprise-wide sales of pharmacy solutions that simplify the prescription process and increase efficiency, accuracy and profitability for 60,000 chain and community pharmacies nationwide. He also supports pharmacy connectivity needs for Emdeon’s payer and prescription benefit manager customers.
Senior director of clinical services for the pharmacy services division
Lathe Bigler serves as Emdeon’s senior director of clinical services for the pharmacy services division. His focus on developing layers of competitive advantage and increasing market growth are instrumental in Emdeon’s advancement in the exchange of electronic prescriptions and other clinical information. Lathe has more than 15 years experience in healthcare and information technology fields and has held roles in marketing, product management, business development and industry relations with such corporations as NDC Health, Midmark Diagnostics, DrFirst and AltaPoint Data Systems. Lathe has a bachelor’s degree in marketing and business administration.