FedHealthIT’s recent webinar, Delivering A Human-Centric Approach to Healthcare, featured five Government Healthcare IT experts discussing how their agencies are modernizing digital strategies and utilizing identity and access management. Habib Hourani, Team Lead, Federal Solutions Engineering at Okta served as moderator, guiding the panel as they demonstrated how each agency has similar standards and goals for sharing information with the patient experience in mind.

The panel consisted of Federal Healthcare speakers working to collect, standardize and share data to improve patient care. Justin Fanelli, Technical Director and Principal Engineer, Naval Information Warfare Center, assigned to the Defense Health Agency leading APIs for Delivering Data and Analytical Services, spoke of the DHA’s take on access control, as well as standardization as a time saving mechanism. Jason Glanville, Director, Product Strategy, Department of Veterans Affairs, noted the importance of user/customer experience across varying skill sets and application comfortability. Dave Mazik, IT Product Owner, APIs, Department of Veterans Affairs, addressed the importance of using apps to put data to use through information exchange. Oki Mek, Advisor to the HHS CIO, HHS ReImagine, Office of the Chief Information Officer, Department of Health and Human Services, provided thoughts on sharing information within an agency, with other agencies, and with the private sector. Shelby Switzer, API Activist, United States Digital Service, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, stressed the importance of the patient being an active stakeholder in the Healthcare process.

Focus on Interoperability

Government agencies have similar missions when it comes to interoperability. A large portion of the discussion centered around taking data, analyzing and exchanging it between interested parties, all while keeping the experience of the patient a priority. As the amount of patient data being collected increases, it becomes more important to find mechanisms to sort and distribute it in a way that providers, pharmacies, patients and others involved in an individual’s care find beneficial. Mek spoke to the importance of how APIs allow flexibility among vendors, while enhancing the health and wellbeing of the patient.

Process Authentication and Authorization

Providing factual data and ensuring only those authorized to view it is an important role emerging technology plays in Healthcare. The ONC CARES Act was mentioned as the latest version of industry standards. “On the Navy side, we’re Okta users, so we’re plugged in and that’s federated [identity] from mobile to Desk.com sites. And that has allowed us to go further faster,” commented Fanelli on his experience with collecting, standardizing and sharing information. It is important for all members of a care team to have access to a patient’s data, however, only those with permission should be given valid credentials for viewing.

Keeping the Patient in Mind

A common theme among all of the panelists was the importance of the patient’s perspective when exchanging information and keeping it secure. Mazik spoke to enabling the entire patient outcome, while Glanville mentioned patient engagement. Switzer agreed, saying she hopes to empower patients and work with users when it comes to product and policy decisions, understanding that timely sorting and sharing of data helps providers and patients address medical issues, allowing for actions to be taken toward providing better care.

Looking Forward

COVID-19 has accelerated innovation and made agencies look at data differently, but the mission of abiding by regulations and laws, while delivering services and security, remains the same. As technology continues to change, Government agencies are also reformulating the way Healthcare is delivered. Look for standards to remain important but also allow for change.

The full webinar, Delivering A Human-Centric Approach to Healthcare, is available on-demand here.

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