On the 1st Day of #HITChristmas … Joy Rios from ChirpyBird and HIT Like a Girl Podcast

One day as I was thinking about the holiday season, I was inspired by some people who had sent us 12 gifts to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas. I’ve always loved the 12 days of Christmas ever since someone secret santa’d our family with big boxes of 12 gifts. I’ll never forget that really nice red backpack I got that Christmas.

Inspired by that memory, I decided to celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas here at Healthcare Scene by featuring 12 amazing people in healthcare IT. I just tweeted out a request for interesting healthcare IT people, companies, initiatives, etc that deserved a Christmas gift. So, for the next 12 days, we’ll be featuring a different one each day for our #HITChristmas. We hope you enjoy this spectrum of the broad Healthcare IT Community. We have some amazing people.

On the 1st Day of #HITChristmas we’re excited to feature, Joy Rios from ChirpyBird and HIT Like a Girl Podcast.

Tell us about yourself and ChirpyBird.

I’ve been working in healthIT since 2010, first with the EHR Incentive Program and later with PQRS. Now I work mainly in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) domain of CMS’ Quality Payment Program. Over the years, as I have learned about each of these programs, I’ve made a real effort to share my findings in the hopes of setting healthcare professionals up for success as they transition to value-based care. I’ve created several online and in-person training programs to help others navigate MIPS. I’ve also written 3 books, outlining the changes to each year’s rules for quality reporting.

Chirpy Bird Health IT Consulting is an extension of this effort. Our mission is to accelerate the adoption of value-based care through MIPS consulting. You can read more about us here: www.chirpybirdllc.com

People often ask where we got our business name. It’s a mix of the founding partners first names, Joy and Robin, so it made us think of a happy, or chirpy bird.

What are the good and the bad parts of the MACRA/MIPS government programs?  

The good: 
I think that there’s an opportunity to drive massive, bold changes in healthcare. For example, MACRA, along with the quality reporting programs that came before it, have contributed to the mass adoption of EHR technology nationwide, and is currently using its forces to push for interoperability.

In 2019 and going forward, MIPS has been modified to better address behavioral health issues, and specifically the opioid epidemic. I’m very excited to see what impacts can be made through a national focused effort to address the healthcare industry’s part in the opioid crisis.

The bad: 
Change on the scale of the value-based-care magnitude is going to take time. The transition should be looked at like a marathon, not a sprint. And unfortunately, we are a country with a hyper-focus on short-term gains.

As we transition to a more connected digital healthcare arena, we are at risk of doing more harm than good if the time isn’t taken to consider patient safety or quality during technology implementations.

A methodical approach, with a goal for continuous improvement rather than perfection will go a long way.

Where do you think all of these government regulations are heading?  Will they continue on their current course or do you expect big changes in the future?

If I could use my crystal ball, I’d predict that the MIPS program will be around at least through 2025, and in that time the number of private insurers will continue to dwindle, likely not to a single payer model, but it may potentially come close. Value-based care is here to stay as the fee-for-service model cannot be sustained.

The biggest changes will be in interoperability, tracking outcomes, as well as in patient engagement and experience.

You also do the HIT Like a Girl Podcast. Tell us about that and your goals for the podcast.

I have been incredibly inspired by the contributions and accomplishments of women in healthcare and yet when I got to health conferences, I just don’t see as much of their work displayed or their voices heard on stage.

If I could outline the HIT Like a Girl podcast ingredients, there’s a little “being the change you want to see in the world” mixed in with “empowered women empower women,” and a touch of “start before you’re ready.”

We want to highlight the role women play in the many areas within healthcare, learn from them, and share their experiences with our listeners. We strongly feel that knowing that there are ladies out there pushing their personal and professional boundaries allows others to follow their lead.

Our goal is to amplify their efforts and accomplishments to change the narrative and recognize more openly what women are bringing to the table in the health IT arena.

If you’ve missed an episode, check out www.HITlikeaGirlpod.com.

What would you like to see happen to better help women in healthcare IT?

It’s pretty simple. We believe that it’s time to end the age of the male heavy panel or “manel,” as it is often called and that women in healthcare should be recognized for their efforts, expertise, and contributions.

There is no shortage of smart women working in health IT.

Personally, I’d like to see more women in leadership roles of large corporations.

You are one of the nicest people in the world.  Is it hard to be that nice?

LOL. Thanks for this complement. I’m a pretty positive person – my name is Joy, after all – and in general, I find that being nice takes little effort. When I smile while on the phone, I truly believe that the person on the other end can tell. Taking a kind posture has definitely helped me have more open and meaningful interactions with people and it’s quite possibly led to more opportunity.

In the sense that “it takes one to know one,” I am very grateful to work not only with smart people, but also kind ones.

What can the healthcare IT community do for you?

Great question! If you work with doctors or other MIPS eligible clinicians, talk to them about the electronic exchange of health information among their provider networks and with their patients. Encourage them to get the technical capabilities such as a Direct address (aka HISP address) in place and are using 2015 Edition certified EHR technology for the 2019 performance year .On a practical level, these are the building blocks needed to be in place for interoperability to be achieved.

Be sure to follow all of the 12 Day of #HITChristmas.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.

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