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Exclusive Interview with Optum CIO Robert Mayer -Health IT Weekly Digest

Release Date: 1/9/2013

January 8, 2013 By Institute for Health Technology Transformation

Interview with Robert Mayer, Chief Information Officer, Optum
In advance of the iHT2 Health IT Summit in Phoenix,  Robert Mayer, Chief Information Officer, Optum joined the iHT2 Education Department to discuss coordinated care, bending the cost curve, and HIE outlook and strategy.

With the significant focus on health IT over the past several year, how has your organization evolved during that time?
Like many other organizations, we have come to rely on health IT, for better or worse. It has definitely improved patient care and the productivity of most physicians. But it has also introduced new challenges like maintaining sufficient security controls and managing large databases effectively.

What are the two most pressing challenges facing Optum and how are you working to overcome these hurdles?
The shifting emphasis on providing coordinated care and bending the cost curve are significant challenges. Optum is encouraging the community it serves to rethink the traditional approach to healthcare. The company is negotiating with payers to move from a fee-for-service model, to a coordinated care model, with fees based on healthy outcomes for our patients. Managing costs requires Optum to fully understand a patient’s care over a range of providers and settings. The HIE is key to providing this integrated picture so our providers can manage each patient’s unique healthcare challenges. Finding ways to prevent the costly complications of certain conditions before they occur helps save money and keeps our focus on maintaining a healthy patient population.

What are the key strategies for creating value for stakeholders with HIE?
The HIE must demonstrate its value to the appropriate users in order to be sustainable. Understanding the users’ pain points and how the HIE can reduce them is key to identifying where to deploy HIE resources to provide the most value. HIE use should be integrated into physician work flow to ensure its effective use in clinical settings. Consider information exchange in broad terms to identify ancillary value equations that can be leveraged for ongoing sustainability opportunities.

Interested in learning more about health information exchange (HIE)? Join Enloe Medical Center, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and HealthShare Bay area as they discuss the very same topics during their, “Future Developments for Health Information Exchange” panel taking place at iHT2 Health IT Summit in San Francisco, Jan. 15-16!

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