With less than two months until the United States selects its new President, HCA’s chief medical officer Dr. Jonathan Perlin and other healthcare leaders are already working to help prepare the next administration as it faces unprecedented opportunities to shape the healthcare industry.

The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) commissioned expert papers on 19 priority areas for U.S. health policy. These papers were discussed during the Vital Directions Symposium in Washington, D.C., on September 26 and are now published on NAM’s website.

Dr. Perlin, one of the nation’s most recognized experts in electronic medical records and interoperability, was the lead author on a viewpoint entitled, “Health Information Technology Interoperability and Use for Better Care and Evidence,” as part of NAM’s Vital Directions initiative.

“It was an honor to work with such esteemed leaders as we seek to realize the clinical, societal, and economic benefits of electronic health records and healthcare interoperability,” said Dr. Perlin. His co-authors for the Vital Directions piece included Dixie Baker, PhD; Dr. David Brailer, Dr. Doug Fridsma, Dr. Mark Frisse. Dr. John Halamka, Dr. Jeffrey Levi, PhD; Dr. Ken Mandl, Janet Marchibrod, Dr. Richard Platt and Dr. Paul Tang.

During a panel at the Symposium, Dr. Perlin was asked what he would say in an “elevator pitch” to the President of the United States about the future of the nation’s healthcare system.perlin_nam

He responded, “It’s all about the data,” and listed three focus areas to capitalize on the potential of electronic health records to shape healthcare: 1) developing learning health systems; 2) supporting end-to-end interoperability; and 3) enhancing cybersecurity.

HCA – led by Dr. Perlin who previously served as the inaugural chair of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health IT Standards Committee – is actively working to advance all three focus areas.

Developing Learning Health Systems

In a learning health system the experience and data from past patient care is used to identify evidence-based clinical practices to inform future care. An early adopter of the Federal standards required for the “meaningful use” of health information technology, HCA uses data from more than 28 million patient encounters each year to see trends and make improvements to care practices that positively impact more lives.

Dr. Perlin cited HCA’s groundbreaking REDUCE MRSA study, which demonstrated a 44 percent improvement on known best practices for reducing bloodstream infections, as an example of the power of a learning health system. He also noted that because of interoperable health data, it didn’t take one hospital 64 years to acquire the necessary data, it took 43 hospitals just 18 months.

Supporting Interoperability

End-to-end interoperability – where all medical devices, electronic health records and sources of patient data “talk” to each other and share data  – makes health records work better for patients and caregivers, improving quality of care and reducing costs. HCA, has pledged to implement three core commitments – Consumer Access, Transparency and Standards – to support interoperability.

Learn more about HCA’s commitment to interoperability.

Enhancing Cybersecurity

Patients have the expectation that data created through their care will be treated as private and protected from misuse. According to Dr. Perlin, healthcare providers have an obligation and an opportunity to create systems that will protect this vulnerable information.

Listen to Dr. Perlin discuss learning health systems, as well as patient data privacy and security concerns, at the Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences (INFORMS) Healthcare Conference in Nashville last year.