ThinkAnthem recently spoke with Sheryl Turney, director of reporting & data analysis at Anthem, to discuss her recent appointment to the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) Health Information Technology Advisory Committee. The committee – which is comprised of 15 members who represent many health care stakeholder groups, including providers, consumers, health plans, researchers, patient advocates and health information technology developers – will provide recommendations to the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology on the implementation of a health information technology infrastructure. Upon her appointment, Sheryl Turney shared her vision for how safer and quicker data flow can improve the health care system and allow people to live healthier lives.
Q: Tell us about yourself. What is your background and what does your job at Anthem involve?
A: I oversee the data reporting team and data release policy for Anthem, as well as the all payer claims data (APCD) policy and enterprise strategy. Over the seven years that I’ve been with the company, we’ve seen that various states have implemented mandates for the collection of health care data for the residents of those states to help identify initiatives for reducing cost of care and achieving the Triple Aim  .That’s how I got involved with data policy work, which was new to Anthem before I came on board and was something that I identified as a fast-growth area.
Q: You were recently appointed to the GAO’s Health Information Technology Advisory Committee. Can you tell us about that?
A: The committee was established under the 21st Century Cures Act, which was enacted in December 2016, to advance an interoperable health information technology infrastructure. Essentially, the group will provide recommendations to the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology on policies, standards, implementation specifications and certification criteria relating to the implementation of a health information technology infrastructure that advances the electronic access, exchange and use of health information.
Q: What are the goals of the committee?
A: We’re going to be looking at policies and standards for implementing improvements in the ability to share and exchange information. It’s a particularly important goal because currently that’s an aspect of our current health information technology environment that would benefit from improvement and evolution. There are many patient, payer and provider manifestations where health IT needs to be shared between health care organizations and patients and the flow of data is challenging. I’ve even experienced access to health data issues myself, as a patient.
Other topics may include looking at the implementation of…