By Tamara StClaire

You cannot discount health information technology professionals’ critical contributions to supporting better care and sustaining better health. For instance, our colleagues in health IT will help the industry close the gap on value-based care; and they will help deliver telemedicine services to the 61 percent of U.S. adults who said they would use it if it were available.

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“National Health IT Week unites health IT professionals each year to celebrate achievements and raise awareness of the industry.” — Tamara St. Claire, chief innovation officer, Xerox Healthcare Business Group

This commitment to technology that improves the healthcare industry is why we celebrate National Health IT Week. There are four main themes this year: precision medicine, telemedicine, public/population health and economic opportunity. All four were of impact in our industry, but two in particular – population health and telemedicine – were significant focus areas for us at Xerox Healthcare.

Population Health

Earlier this year, we conducted research to gauge how prepared the healthcare industry is to shift to value-based care. The results are concerning: while nearly half of payers and providers said they were looking to switch to a value-based model, 43 percent said that value-based contracts made up less than 10 percent of their portfolio. Moreover, 83 percent had concerns about how exactly they would go about measuring healthy outcomes.

To help providers adapt to this new way of working, we announced Xerox Health Outcome Solutions in February. Using a combination of analytics, technology and clinical and administrative services, we’re setting out to develop specific recommendations to help clients improve specific financial and clinical contractual outcomes.

Download Xerox’s full report on value-based care.

I was thrilled with the vote of confidence the new solution received from Barbra Sheridan McGann of HfS Research, who said, “Xerox’s depth of expertise within the healthcare ecosystem, including providers, health plans and state governments, along with capability for personal and digital support for consumers, positions the company to partner for a true, modern, lifecycle population health management solution.”

Telemedicine

In June, we conducted additional research – this time to take the pulse of patients on their willingness to receive healthcare outside of a traditional in-person setting. We weren’t surprised with the finding that while 61 percent of U.S. adults are willing to receive non-urgent healthcare advice, exams or counseling virtually, only 16 percent have actually done so. The space between – what I call the adoption gap – is 45 percent.

It’s clear that there is plenty of consumer demand for remote, convenient access to care. We announced Xerox Virtual Health Solutions to help providers meet that demand. By offering consulting, interface design and development, and virtual clinic services, we hope to help healthcare organizations prepare for the “anytime, anywhere” paradigm—and to see that 45 percent gap narrow.

See our infographic: “Are Healthcare Professionals and Patients on Different Planets?

Population health and telemedicine are just two areas we’ve focused on as a company this year. National Health IT Week is such an important initiative because it raises awareness of the many subjects the health IT industry as a whole is tackling.

If you’re new to National Health IT Week, here’s a list of ways you can get involved. My favorite is to record a video explaining your own “I Heart HIT” story. Check mine out below, and consider sharing your own with the #IHeartHIT hashtag!