Parks Associates Blog

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Reporting from Connections: Continua Health Alliance Session

The Continua Health Alliance organized an information session yesterday at the annual Connections conference hosted by Parks. Three executives gave a very humble and candid overview of Continua’s mission, agenda, progress, and momentum. Rick Cnossen, who is the Technical Working Group Chair of the Alliance, highlighted the upcoming version one of the interoperability standards and the Alliance’s membership growth momentum. Dr. Hyung Tai Kim, who is VP of Research from Ascension Health, one of the nation's largest non-profit hospital networks, explained Ascension’ mission in the healthcare transformation and motivation for the company to join the Alliance. Julie Cherry, Director of Clinical Services from Intel Digital Health Group, presented her view from both a clinician’s perspective (she is an RN) and Intel’s regarding chronic disease care and how technology can help improve healthcare delivery. Their presentations will be available for download shortly after the Conference, so be sure to return to for conference updates.

The three speakers answered audience’s questions with a rare candidness, occasionally even with emotion. Perhaps the topic of health touches a sensitive spot in us as human beings. Key progress made by Continua in the last two years include creating several working groups to tackle regulation, technology, reimbursement, and business model aspects of the ecosystem that the Alliance tries to build. The version one interoperability standards will include two data transport standard: USB and Bluetooth, both at the medical grade. Rick explained that Continua is also working on interface standards for personal health record (PHR), electronic health record (EHR), sensor network and wellness applications. Dr. Kim was particularly good at sharing his view from a provider’s perspective. I asked him about the outreach programs Continua is working on, particularly to the physician practices. He said that being a physician himself, he knows physicians are a tough group to connect. But the Alliance is closely watching initiatives from physician groups and will reach out to them when the timing is right—when technology is ready for physicians to test, and compensation schemes are stable and acceptable to physicians. One attendee asked about which personal health initiative—Google Health or Microsoft Health Vault--that his company should support. Dr. Kim’s suggestion: try to do both.

Continua will host a member meeting in July, and guess what, a Google Health executive will keynote the event. I will attend that meeting and present research and findings to Continua’s members on July 9.

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