Technology collaboration

Wednesday, November 01, 2017 12:35 PM
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American Medical Association

New collaborative initiative brings health and technology stakeholders together around a common data model

A new collaborative initiative founded by the American Medical Association is working to unleash a new era of better, more effective patient care by introducing a data evolution for improving, organizing and sharing health care information.

The Integrated Health Model Initiative (IHMI) is a platform for bringing together the health and technology sectors around a common data model that is missing in health care. IHMI fills the national imperative to pioneer a shared framework for organizing health data, emphasizing patient centric information, and refining data elements to those most predictive of achieving better outcomes. Evolving available health data to depict a complete picture of a patient’s journey from wellness to illness to treatment and beyond allows health care delivery to fully focus on patient outcomes, goals and wellness.

Participation in IHMI is open to all health care and technology stakeholders, and early collaborators include IBM, Cerner, Intermountain Healthcare, the American Heart Association, the American Medical Informatics Association and others. IHMI supports a continuous learning environment with an online platform that enables a common data model to evolve with real-world use and feedback from participants.

“We spend more than three trillion dollars a year on health care in America and generate more health data than ever before. Yet some of the most meaningful data – data to unlock potential improvements in patient outcomes – is fragmented, inaccessible or incomplete,” said AMA CEO James L. Madara, MD. “The collaborative effort of IHMI will help the health system learn how to collect, organize, and exchange patient-centered data in a common structure that captures what is most important for improving care and long-term wellness, and transform the data into a rich stream of accessible and actionable information.”

By offering a common data model for the health system to collect, organize, exchange and analyze critical data elements, IHMI imagines a world where all clinicians are equipped with essential information to shift care plans towards achieving outcomes that are more relevant to a patient’s quality of life and consistent with the patient’s lifestyle, goals and health status. Given the high economic and societal burden of chronic diseases, IHMI will initially prioritize its resources and efforts in clinical areas such as hypertension, diabetes and asthma.

A common data model with clinically validated data elements can accelerate the development of improved data organization, management and analytics. This collective effort will foster patient care models that achieve better outcomes, as well as technical innovations to address poor interoperability, cumbersome or inadequate data structures, and an overload of point-and-click tasks that dampen clinician morale.

As IHMI launches, the AMA is currently focused on:

  • Hosting clinical and issue-based communities focused on costly and burdensome areas. This fosters collaborative efforts around common interests and areas of need, such as hypertension management, diabetes prevention, asthma function, and the identification of the best available science and practices that define patient-centric care.
  • Providing a clinical validation process to determine and apply appropriate clinical frameworks. Participants will provide contributions and feedback online to specify data elements and relationships. Clinical content submissions will go through a validation process to review clinical applicability.
  • Specifying a model to encode information in the IHMI data model. Clinical content will enable configurations of the model and reference value sets that can be distributed.

Additional communities will be developed and added to the online platform based on market needs throughout 2018.

“IHMI is the latest development in the AMA’s ongoing work to build bridges with health technology leaders and bring the physician voice into the innovation space. Patients deserve – and the marketplace should expect – physician input on the real-world value and feasibility of products and health technologies,” said AMA Senior Vice President of Health Solutions Laurie McGraw.

The AMA invites all health care innovators and stakeholders to join the IHMI and contribute their unique expertise to transforming health care. To join IHMI, visit for more details.



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