At GovernmentCIO Media & Research’s Digital Services: Health IT event, federal technology leaders highlighted the importance of data in developing digital health services.
The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted federal agencies and partner organizations in the health and technology sectors to accelerate the development and delivery of digital platforms and services to ensure rapid access to health services for all Americans .
At the GovernmentCIO Media & Research’s: Health IT virtual event, public health officials and academics discussed how the pandemic provided an opportunity to reach a segment of the population that before the COVID pandemic -19, did not participate in public health programs even though they had the right to do so.
“We’re really expanding access to data, workflows and caregivers with new applications, and we’re looking to do it as quickly as possible,” said Tom Guido, senior director of Software-as-a- Service (SaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) Solutions at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), during the event.
Guido said COVID-19 “validated [the VA’s] approach ”to service delivery. Before the start of the pandemic, the AV developed an approach that supports the rapid integration, implementation and modification of applications as a service.
“I am grateful that we put this program in place before the pandemic so that we can meet emerging and fluid needs, without sacrificing quality or safety, quickly,” he said. “Today we implemented 34 new apps to support COVID -19. Another 27 of those already in our portfolio directly supported COVID-19.”
The Biden administration has set new standards for agencies in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mike Jimenez, director of technology for the Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), said the Biden administration offered an opportunity to expand health care coverage to consumers.
“Less than a month after the change of administration, we were asked to open a special registration period. We had to work closely with our partners in CMS and our external partners in government and private companies, ”Jimenez said at the event. “It was very successful for us. Over 2 million people were able to obtain insurance that otherwise would not have been able to register during this time.
As agencies seek to increase access to enrollment for healthcare and digital health services, providers are expanding their reach and engagement to simplify enrollment for clients and streamline redundant processes.
“Engagement platforms today need to be more consumer-oriented and demand-driven,” said Nelly Connolly, Global Account Manager for Federal Healthcare at ServiceNow, at the event. “They want Amazonian experiences, so when they’re shopping for a health plan, they want to be able to do it any time of the day or night, they want to be able to ask quick questions of a knowledge bot or a bot agent, they need AI and predictability to help them focus on them. ”
With the growing demand for innovative healthcare enrollment tools and digital services, agencies aim to increase the efficiency of data to make informed and actionable decisions. Internal and external partnerships are essential to collect the right data at the right time.
VA’s Million Veteran (MVP) program collects genetic, lifestyle, military exposure, and health information. As part of this initiative, the VA established a comprehensive database for scientific findings and pipelines to translate research results into clinical contexts.
“The biggest advantage we had was that we had a stable population of VA veterans who are very selfless, and they see participating in research as another way of serving their country,” said MVP director. Sumitra Muralidhar at the event. “We have a very rich electronic medical record, going back 30 years, and we have data on 24 million veterans.”
At Howard University, Dean of Strategy and Outreach Michael Crawford focuses on connecting innovative technologies with underserved populations to ensure access and equity. Howard University also generates data in a live clinical environment to conduct predictive analytics on how the organization manages patient outcomes.
“We plan to use these technologies to generate data and information and then aggregate that data across multiple domains to create a singular picture of how we can impact our individuals, families, as well as our communities. in a positive and meaningful way, ”Crawford said.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) wants to close the health access gap by distributing wearable devices to underserved populations as part of the All of Us Research Program’s new pilot initiative. Wearable devices will collect data from historically hard-to-reach populations and improve public health datasets that inform public health research and policy.
“One of the tenets of our program is that we want at least half of the people who enroll in the program to be non-white, and we want at least 75% of people to be under-represented by research. medical for whatever reason, be it level of education, region of the country, disability status, sexual orientation, gender minority status, ”said Chris Lunt, technical director of the NIH All of Us Research Program, at the meeting. ‘event.
Going forward, healthcare agencies and organizations strive to simplify, improve the user experience, and create new efficiencies within IT systems. CMS will integrate human-centered design principles into new and existing solutions to support this development process.
“Modernizing as quickly as possible, as efficiently as possible, is essential,” Jimenez said. “We have to keep looking at not only where we’re going, but what we’ve been doing, and how can we take these things and continue to improve them. This continuous improvement mindset must be more than just a slogan. It has to be something that we integrate into what we do.