Health Information Technology Project Management Tools – Modernizing Telehealth in Alaska and creating a Chronic Kidney Disease Registry Open Access

Le, Ngoc Thao (Fall 2017)

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Portfolio Introduction

This portfolio is an exploration of informatics tools to implement health care informatics projects. I’ve highlighted below the two projects that I created during the portfolio classes. The first one is about modernizing the telehealth workflow using modern systems that are currently in use at the Alaska Tribal Health hospitals and clinics. This project focus on working relationship with the Electronic Health Record vendor company, Cerner, and the video conferencing vendor, Vidyo. It also focus on the security feature of the system as well as program policy and development to implement the project. The second project is creating a Chronic Kidney Disease Registry. This project allow me to discover project management tools, how to best use emerging technologies in projects, and learn about visualization systems. 


I.               Summary

American Indian and Alaska Native people have experienced lower health status when compared with other Americans. Some of the reasons are: disparities in access to care, preventable morbidity and mortality, and the burden of chronic disease. The prevalence of heart disease, diabetes, and other conditions is considerably higher among American Indian and Alaska Natives compared with the rest of the US population. American Indians and Alaska Natives continue to die at higher rates than other Americans from tuberculosis (500 percent higher), alcoholism (519 percent higher), diabetes (195 percent higher), unintentional injuries (149 percent higher), homicide (92 percent higher), and suicide (72 percent higher).

Given persistent health status disparities, innovation in care delivery systems and models is a vital priority. Working in partnership between Tribes and Tribal programs, the timely and strategic use of health information technology and system delivery innovation to support and address the preventive and treatment needs of American Indian and Alaska Native patients and communities. Health information technology (HIT) can be a key component of the expanded focus on effective quality health delivery and efficient resource management. Electronic health records and telehealth service delivery are two noteworthy examples of this emphasis. The tools advance the long-standing focus and the vision of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium to have Alaska Native people being the healthiest people in the world. They are also a critical component of initiatives supporting true patient-centered care within a community orientation and population health perspective.

For the past 16 years Alaska has been using a telehealth solution call Alaska Federal Health Care Access Network (AFHCAN) and provides telehealth services to 248 sites across Alaska. Due to the challenges in telecommunication connectivity, the services is only targeted toward store-and-forward (i.e., asynchronous) rather than live videoconferencing. Currently, with the use of Cerner EHR and a better telecommunication network such as Vidyo, I am proposing a system to integrate Vidyo in the Cerner Patient portal so that live videoconferencing can happen seamless and at the tip of the patient’s finger.

Public Health and Business Impact

 Telehealth has proved to improve access to care, reduce the cost of care delivery, and improved the efficiency and productivity of providers. The current AFCAN systems are becoming obsolete and more modern technology can be replace to make the provider workflow more seamless, save the cost of replacing old systems and supporting them, and help patients get quicker access to specialist providers. 

Chronic Kidney Disease Registry

I.               Summary

The problem:

Thirty million American adults have chronic kidney disease and millions of others are at increased risk.13 Additionally, kidney disease is listed as the ninth most common cause of death by the National Center for Health Statistics.14 However, most patients are unaware of their declining kidney function until it is in its late stages,15,16 or they succumb prematurely, typically to cardiovascular disease.17,18  Progression of CKD, and its attendant comorbidity, can be slowed or potentially even halted with optimal medical care,19,20,21 with implications for increased lifespan, quality of life, and lower societal cost.

  The Solution

The critical task at hand is to identify those at risk or in the early stages of the disease, with the intent of effective implementation of proven preventive and therapeutic strategies. A disease registry is a special database that contains information about people diagnosed with a specific type of disease. Most disease registries are either hospital based or population based. I’m proposing a dedicated, comprehensive, and systematic registry that captures and tracks all aspects of CKD on the population level. The requirements of the solution include:

·       The solution must be architected to be deployed in a commercial cloud environment,

·       The solution must be able to take advantage of, and translate between multiple transport mechanisms,

·       The solution must support current messaging standards that relate to kidney disease and also support future development and improvement in health care technology and standard,

·       The solution should also recognize technological limitations with respect to ability to support standard message formats, and

·       The solution must be capable of maintaining personal health information and protecting the security of that data in compliance with federal regulations.

Portfolio Conclusion

 The portfolio projects allowed me the opportunities to learn about project management tools, how to use emerging technologies to implement health informatics project, understand more about visualization tools and the pros and cons of certain visualization system. The projects also pushed me to build relationships with stakeholders in my professional network to enrich my circle and my professional experience. I will continue to learn these tools and add more tools regarding health care information technology project management into my toolbox. I have learned a tremendous amount of new and emerging technologies that are becoming solutions to the current health IT problems and I can’t wait to implement my knowledge in my job and future jobs. My next step is to obtain the Project Management Professional Certification and move into a position that use these skills.

Table of Contents

1. Portfolio Introduction

2. Telehealth

2.1 Summary

2.2 Introduction

2.3 Discussion

3. CKD Registry

3.1 Summary

3.2 Introduction

3.3 Discussion

4. Portfolio Conclusion

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