2014 HCLF in review: Energizing and insightful

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2014 Co-chairs, David Bates, MD, MSc and Patricia Flatley Brennan, RN, PhD discuss the highlights and changes to this year's meeting.
Source: © TriMed Media Group

The 2014 Healthcare Leadership Forum just concluded in Chicago, and participants were energized! Produced by Clinical Innovation + Technology’s parent company TriMed Media Group and sponsored by Elsevier Clinical Solutions, there was a palpable buzz in the air during and immediately following the gathering. Audience members praised the renowned expert speakers on sharing enormous amounts of “practical information” and “actual experience” which will be brought back to hospitals and healthcare systems across the country. Yes, the big themes of this year’s forum really delivered.

Everyone understands that advanced technology can only achieve its potential to improve healthcare if our patients are engaged, educated and empowered to participate in their own care. Thus, many in the audience were a bit stunned to hear results of current studies demonstrating the extremely limited understanding that even educated patients possess regarding the literacy (language) and numeracy (numbers) of medical information provided to them. This led to an important discussion of the universal push for “plain language” use across all patient (and even clinician) educational materials.

The forum also drove home the need for strategies and technological solutions to address risk-filled transitions of care.  But unlike recent goals, speakers emphasized the expanded definition of “transitions of care” to reach far past the hospital-to-home transition.  Complex care transitions were discussed in detail, including make-up, structure and responsibilities of successful, real world care transition teams.  Less successful approaches and models also were presented, empowering forum participants to avoid repeating the same mistake (or at least to tread lightly).

Still other presentations and discussions focused on the healthcare reform’s new point-of-care target, the patient’s actual home. New strategies and technology, some of it still being evaluated in real patient care, were demonstrated and discussed, all aimed at maintaining patient health in the outpatient setting and avoiding preventable emergent care and the associated costs.

Of course, patient risk at all points-of-care was discussed, and new predictive patient risk models were explained and demonstrated. Forum speakers included experts working to guide Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommendations, and a preview of next month’s IOM Socio-Demographic EHR Domain recommendations was provided, leading to insightful discussion, given that representatives of the EHR industry were among the audience members. There was even a practical discussion led by an expert patient privacy attorney on how the federal government is attempting to reconcile their seemingly competing mission to improve the health of populations with their strict patient information privacy requirements.

Amazing speakers presenting practical, real-world approaches and solutions to current healthcare challenges. Engaged, interactive audience members from a variety of healthcare systems and settings. All within the beautiful Waldorf Astoria hotel in downtown Chicago in fall. Yes, an amazing Healthcare Leadership Forum this year!