Colorado Medical Society

Advancing technology

Tuesday, January 24, 2017 07:31 AM

The eHealth Commission and the Office of eHealth Innovation (OeHI) were created by Gov. John Hickenlooper through executive order in late 2015, in recognition of Colorado’s unique opportunities to coordinate, leverage and continue advancing technology innovations across Colorado. Both the commission and the office are focused on advancing the effective use of health information technology and health data in support of our statewide efforts to improve quality, increase access, improve care coordination, reduce costs, and enhance the care experience and value for the citizens of Colorado.

The eHealth Commission began meeting in early 2016 and currently has 14 members, including representation from primary care (a physician), behavioral care, rural care, and other key stakeholders like health systems, payers, consumers, health information exchanges, nonprofits and digital health leaders across Colorado. As we move forward with key health IT planning phases, we are further engaging our provider community in workshops that are focusing on key capabilities needed (for example, functionality or information that supports clinical workflows), as well as enablers needed (such as technology, data, standards, processes and policies). At some point, we may also form a provider and/or multi-disciplinary ad-hoc working group(s) to help ensure that we’re most effectively meeting the needs of our clinical care community across the state. Please let us know if you’d be interested in participating.

In addition to supporting the commission and the planning workshops, the office has been managing a broader HIT planning process under the leadership of Carrie Paykoc, state HIT coordinator, and Chris Underwood, director, Office of Health Information. This process included a recent survey that reached many providers as well as key health care stakeholders. While we don’t know the exact response rate (due to the cascading manner in which the survey was distributed), it’s clear that we continue to have a very engaged health care community, including the 850 individuals who responded to the survey and the 376 who requested to be kept informed or volunteered to participate.

The survey helped to prioritize key objectives that emerged from the early planning workshops and multi-stakeholder visioning sessions held in communities across Colorado. These objectives went into the community stakeholder survey process for prioritization and resulted in these top five priority focus areas:

Care coordination - Health care and health-related information needed for effective coordination of care across community services is easily accessible and usable throughout Colorado.

Access to information - Coloradans (and their authorized individuals and providers) can easily, appropriately and securely access health care and health-related information.

Data integration and availability - Physical health, behavioral health, social services, payment and cost information is integrated and readily available and usable.

Cost of health IT - All providers have access to cost effective, health IT support and services that are aligned and realistic with their budgets and the value proposition of those service is clear and transparent.

Quality reporting - State-required quality measures are relevant to achieving Colorado’s State of Health Triple Aim – Best Health, Best Care, Best Value – and aligned across programs and settings, standardized and easy to report.

There are other priority focus areas represented in the survey (respondents consistently said it was difficult to rank order them), and the office and commission recognize that these efforts need attention as well: broadband, telehealth, analytics, innovation, consent management, and governance and policy (which includes areas such as policies, standards, understanding of regulations, as well as transparent data sharing, correct patient and provider identification, and consent management). It’s clear that we have challenging and exciting work ahead of us, but with our public/private partnerships, our engaged stakeholders and communities, and the advancing technology enablers now at our disposal we’re optimistic that we’ll make tangible progress toward our goals.

The Office of eHealth Innovation consists of the state HIT coordinator, Carrie Paykoc; intern Emily Geibel; our supporting team of HIT leaders, including Chris Underwood and other professionals housed in the Healthcare Policy and Financing Division; consulting partners; and me. We’re guided by our 14-member eHealth Commission.

We welcome ongoing engagement with our provider community through the OeHI website,, where you can sign up for our newsletter, or by contacting us at or

We look forward to continuing our partnership with you, as we address our shared challenges and leverage technology innovations across the state of Colorado.