ONC releases resources to help states add digital patient tools to SHIPs

By Aditi Pai
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State Health Innovation Plans CMS AccentureA few months ago, Accenture reported that 19 of the 25 states developing state health innovation plans (SHIPs) were planning to invest more in telehealth this year. Now, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has published online resources to help the states that are participating in the State Innovation Models initiative make better use of digital health tools.

CMS' State Innovation Models initiative provides funding to states that want to create and test new payment and care delivery models. In the first phase of the initiative, CMS awarded 25 states nearly $300 million to design or test innovative healthcare payment and service delivery models. The plans were designed for Medicare, Medicaid, and Children’s Health Insurance Program beneficiaries. 

In the second phase, the initiative awarded 28 states, three territories, and Washington DC $660 million to design and test these models. Currently, 34 states, three territories, and Washington DC are participating in the initiative. This group makes up 61 percent of the US population.

“These online resources are part of an overall effort to advance of goals of better care, smarter spending, and, ultimately, healthier people,” National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Karen DeSalvo said in a statement. “We are focused on supporting states and partners in developing innovative ways to pay for health care, providing tools and resources to support change, and making more information available to consumer and patients to enable them to make the right decisions – at the right time – to improve health and care.”

Some resources available to healthcare providers through the ONC include: a guide that explains what key clinical information should exist in summary of care records when transitioning patients to a longterm, post acute care facility, a workbook that offers providers a framework for care coordination services that they can personalize for their specific practice, and a guide for aggregating clinical and claims data.

Other guides from the ONC help providers create their own tools to use with patients. For example, the ONC published a guide that helps providers develop care plan models and another guide helps providers create tools, which integrate the patient's personal life goals with a health and wellness plan, and support the patient over a long period of time.

Additional materials include a case study on how a Community Action Health Clinic in rural Ohio uses health information technology to improve care coordination and a webinar that discusses the importance of providing patient-specific education resources. This webinar focuses on MedlinePlus Connect, a free web application that can be integrated with electronic health records to provide patient-specific education resources in multiple languages.

Accenture's report, published in January, also found that all of the states in the program said they were focusing on patient-centered medical homes and lower-cost labor models, but 19 states want to expand telehealth use and 15 want to offer more patient-facing digital tools, like patient portals.

The 15 states investing in patient portals and other digital tools aim to reduce administrative costs while improving self-care. This group also wants to expand access to electronic health records and provide more information on value-based health choices. Just 14 of the states are planning to invest in data aggregation and analytics to improve population health insights.