Kal Patel, COO of Meditab Software, speaks about innovation in health IT, reactions from physicians and caregivers about the continuous changes in health IT, trends affecting the industry, where we are going and how we are going to get there and the qualities he thinks makes for a health IT leader.
What’s your daily motivation and what makes for innovation currently in the HIT market?
I am motivated by innovation, focusing on creating a product that’s in a league its own, not only for usability, but for the highest and best use, providing each practice the most customized solution for their specialty needs. We don’t subscribe to the notion that one size fits all.
I also believe that the HIT market calls for innovation, otherwise, we are just like any other EHR company out there. I believe the HIT market is going in the direction of integration, data sharing, and full digital capabilities … long gone are the days of manual anything or even paper anything.
The future of HIT is a future driven by digital technology, decreasing human error and opening healthcare to the masses with technology. I imagine that less than two years from now a patient will be able to choose to share their healthcare with anyone by simply pushing a button, and doctors will rely on one another for solutions to mystery ailments through digital sharing. Integrated healthcare is the future of HIT.
What are physicians and caregivers telling you about their perspective?
Physicians are excited about the digital age, but concerned with the learning curve that this shift requires. They are having to reconsider who they hire for their practice, ensuring that staff members are technologically savvy, to take full advantage of the EHR technology.
This shift toward technology in the health industry will also shift the age of the professionals in this field, bringing a wave of younger and more technologically advanced/capable individuals. Caregivers are empowered by the marketplace innovations, providing them better access to medical records, a true involvement in healthcare decisions and a hands-on approach that was not as easily available to them in the past. The shift in the marketplace is putting healthcare information and decisions back in the hands of patients and caregivers.
Are vendors meeting their needs? What are their needs, specifically?
EHR vendors are meeting the immediate need to go paperless, but not the future needs of integration and data sharing. At Meditab, it’s my job to ensure that our technology is not built just for today’s needs, but also built for the future of HIT.
Physicians and caregivers need great healthcare solutions, without sacrificing great healthcare. The shift toward electronic health records and more technology in the health industry should not decrease the healthcare experience, it should enhance it. Some HCPs are using EHRs to decrease the time the patients spend in the office so they can take on more, and this could be perceived as less healthcare delivered to the patient or caregiver. Ensuring that technology does not replace good health care is key.
Has regulation and reform such as meaningful use and ICD-10 shackled Meditab in any way? Why or why not?
I don’t believe so. As a company, we are fortunate enough to be extremely nimble and capable of changing quickly with the marketplace changes. This has kept us at the forefront of these reforms, and our clients appreciate this about us. As we continue to grow, this will remain a big part of our DNA.
What one thing would you change about the current state of the health IT landscape?
With the mandate to go electronic, many fly-by-night EHR companies are popping up, and this is creating a dilution in the marketplace among the top EHRs who have been around 10+ years, and who will continue to be around long after the mandate deadline. There should be tighter regulations to manage this surge of companies, so that the marketplace leaders can continue to provide credibility, longevity and better support to their clients.
Instead, there has been a focus on the heavy marketplace competition that is causing concern in credibility for the clients who want to ensure that long after the mandate, their EHR provider will still be around to enhance, update and support their needs.
What big trends are next? Are we ready for them or what needs to happen?
The big trends will be focused around digital sharing across healthcare platforms, including sharing with patients, healthcare databases and registries, better healthcare statistics and research.
The marketplace is going electronic, but that also needs to take into account making sharing electronically more seamless. Many of the EHR platforms today still don’t integrate or communicate with other EHR platforms for true integrated healthcare, or team care. The focus needs to be on true telehealth, seamless data sharing with the click of a button and stronger quality measures for EHR providers.
Where does Meditab fit in?
Meditab continues to innovate to meet the demands of the
marketplace. Our focus is on true integration, while ensuring all government regulations are met and exceeded to meet clients’ needs for increased application and easier adoption. While our product is highly sophisticated, it is extremely functional and customizable to our clients’ needs, ensuring simplicity in adoption, and increased usability. Our goal is to continue to focus on our clients; first and foremost, building better solutions to meet their specialty needs, while ensuring we meet compliance needs, and are on the path for full integration for true data sharing, without ever sacrificing client usability, ease of use and learnability.
What defines a leader, in your eyes, in health IT?
A leader in health IT is defined by being highly innovative in the marketplace and driving change, being hyper responsive to the ever-changing marketplace and ensuring the best quality measures to meet regulations.
Kal Patel, Meditab Software COO, graduated from pharmacy school at the age of 21 and quickly jumped into a position as a pharmacy manager.This was followed by a position as a pharmacy director for an FQHC clinic. Patel joined Meditab in 2001 and has worked to improve the internal operations of the company, as well as establish Meditab’s five office locations. He is married with two boys and enjoys reading, playing sports and spending time with his family.