James Smith is a blogger with Centra Care, an urgent care center in Tampa.
Healthcare services from across the world are teaming to create better facilities for patients. This is leading to the better and faster provision of seamless patient care with fewer medical errors and improved quality of healthcare while allowing for lower costs.
Accountable organizations are increasingly turning information technology to deliver quality care to patients while ensuring that an unnecessary duplication of services is avoided. Collaboration is key to getting the maximum effectiveness from IT led healthcare solutions, for all stakeholders involved.
Health IT has made it possible for healthcare providers to better accomplish stellar patient care through the safe use of health information while also sharing them confidently.
The evolving protected and private electronic health records are making health information available electronically as and when needed. The result is significant improvements in the quality of care. IT collaborations also help reduce the distances between care providers and patients, improving workflow and services delivered.
Here are the latest IT related collaborations in the world of healthcare.
Medtronic and American Well
Announced in October 2017, this collaboration seeks to bring about an exciting new revolution in telehealth and the way it is used to facilitate chronic, comorbid patients.
Together the companies will provide patient with reliable access to American Well’s telemedicine solutions, using the video-enabled platforms provided by the Medtronic Care Management Services. Information gathered from these remote patient monitoring systems will also be given to clinicians registered with the American Well service.
All in all, this IT led collaboration aims to enhance patient access to healthcare, and clinicians’ access to relevant information easier.
CVS Health and Epic
This exciting new initiative has a very ambitious goal. When CVS Health collaborates with Epic’s Healthy Planet services, the result is prescribers with more power. The collaboration aims to get access to information and analytics that will give prescribers additional resources to find lower cost drugs for their patients.
The resulting platform also aims to gain valuable information and insights into dispensing patterns and medication observance.
The definitive goal of this collaboration, however, is a lot more versatile. It will enable prescribing healthcare providers to find cheaper alternative medication and figure out if the patient’s insurance covers it. Also, pharmacists will get better information regarding medicines so they can make better-informed decisions regarding patient care plans.
Allscripts and Zocdoc
Another exciting new IT-related collaboration in the field of healthcare happened between the scheduling software maker Allscripts and Zocdoc the online scheduling platform for healthcare providers and clinicians.
The API based integration is making it possible for patients to book appointments online with their preferred physicians. The services are available to new and existing practices that are using Allscripts or Zocdoc.
The result will hopefully lead to maximum effectiveness of the physician’s time. It will also improve the efficiency of the office staff while also improving access to healthcare, creating a more connected and streamlined experience for patients.
Travelers through the trade show floor at HIMSS14 continue to find themselves in the city of senses that is the HIMSS conference. From flashy devices, bright lights, loud music, champagne by the glass and interesting architecture, in many ways this show reminds me of the last time the show was in Orlando. Same energy and excitement, and much the same feel from the show floor. Though it seems like little has changed from the exhibitor perspective, it’s still a nearly overwhelming experience here.
This year, more than 35,500 are here in Orlando, up from 32,500 last year.
The following are some images of the more than 1,200 vendors at the show.
Alere has one of the most visually interesting booths at the show:
In a recent conversation with Steve Ferguson, vice president of Hello Health, he described how the company is identifying new revenue sources for practices while working to engage patients. Even though the company’s business model is one that sets it apart and helps it rival other free EHRs, like Practice Fusion, I left the conversation with him wondering why more venodrs weren’t trying the same thing as Hello Health: trying something no one in the market is trying to see, if by change, a little innovation helps pump some life into the HIT market.
Along the same lines, myself and thousands of others in HIT have wondered why systems are not interoperable and, for the most part, operate in silos that are unable to communicate with competing systems.
Certainly, there’s a case to be made for vendors protecting their footprints, and for growing them. In doing so, they like to keep their secrets close; it’s the a business environment after all and despite the number of conversations taking place by their PR folks, improving patient health outcomes comes in only second (or third) to making money.
However, let’s move closer to my point. Given the recent rumors that Cerner and McKesson are working on a joint agreement to enable cross-vendor, national health information exchange, I’m wondering: Why don’t other vendors partner now and begin to build interoperable systems.
According to the rumors, the deal, if completed, could shift the entire interoperable landscape for hospitals, physicians and patients. It would position Cerner, which has more EHR users, and McKesson, which has a strong HIE product in RelayHealth with a loyal user base, to take on Epic Systems, a leading EHR vendor.
An announcement is expected at HIMSS13.
Here’s why this is important news: Interoperability mandates are coming. Like most things, it’s really just a matter of time. Systems will be forced to communicate with other, competing systems. They should already. It’s actually a bit shocking that given the levels of reporting required of care givers, the push for access to information through initiatives like Blue Button and patient’s access to information through mobile technology that there’s not more openness in the market.
The Cerner/McKesson news is incredibly refreshing and worth a look. Two major competitors may be realizing that by partnering they’ll be better able to take on each company’s biggest competitor: Epic.
Imagine connected systems exchanging data. The thought alone would be marketable across several sectors of the healthcare landscape and the move worthy of reams of coverage, which would lead to great brand awareness for each and the change to do what all EHR companies aim for: To create thought leaders; to stand out; to set the market on its heels.
If nothing else the partner vendors would stand ahead of the pack when future interoperability mandates are enacted and will be seen as experts in the exchange game. Tongue and cheek aside, the idea really is a good one and with no one currently doing it, it’s a great opportunity for a couple of HIT companies to actually move change forward and create an environment where information can be easily exchanged across practices, across specialties and across borders.
Then, perhaps, we’ll see a real commitment to improved patient health outcomes rather than them simply trying to improve bottom lines.