Guest post by Joanna Gorovoy, senior director product and solutions marketing, Axway.
The healthcare industry is in the midst of digital transformation. At the same time, heightened government regulation, evolving healthcare policies and a rise in healthcare consumerism are driving a shift toward value-based, outcome-driven care models.
The focus on maximizing value and outcomes requires organizations across the healthcare ecosystem to work together, especially across a variety of different, and often unaffiliated organizations, including hospitals, health insurance companies, pharmacies and wearable health tech companies. Additionally, data silos and interoperability issues make it difficult to derive value from health data across ecosystems, provide quality patient care and optimize health outcomes.
Healthcare IT leaders in today’s digital era face a great opportunity and a daunting challenge: deriving value from massive volumes of healthcare data while meeting heightened demands for data privacy and security. In 2016 alone there were 106 major healthcare data breaches, exposing 13.5 million individuals’ records. As healthcare data breaches continue to rise in numbers, healthcare IT leaders must reevaluate how they approach key initiatives across patient engagement, population health management and care coordination.
They need to provide secure and innovative digital experiences by implementing application program interfaces (APIs), which are a set of routines, protocols and tools for building software applications, and increase awareness of industry standards, such as Health Level Seven International’s (HL7) Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR). Doing these two things will provide assistance in addressing interoperability issues and simplify the exchange of health information across the ecosystem.
But it doesn’t stop there. Moving toward a future where healthcare data is more widely accessible will require greater security management across all organizations that have access to patient data. To create a more secure and scalable foundation for digital innovation in healthcare you must follow these three steps:
- Acknowledge and implement multi-speed IT tactics: Health IT leaders can successfully bridge systems of record, engagement and their unique systems by using multi-speed IT tactics, addressing different delivery requirements across digital and day-to-day IT. For implementation, having comprehensive data integration and engagement capabilities is required, such as a secure integration foundation to streamline the flow of data and API lifecycle management.
- Efficiently ensure data compliance while meeting existing and evolving regulations: Complying with data privacy and security regulations, such as HIPAA, and adherence to common industry standards should be top of mind for health IT leaders. Meaningful Use Stage 3 requirements have been a catalyst for adoption of new industry standards, such as HL7 FHIR, that accelerate IT initiatives centered around providing greater data access, patient engagement and population health management. To support these new industry standards healthcare leaders should take the following security measures:
- Implementing API access and control policies
- Using an API platform as a central point for governing the flow of data
- Adding security measures to safeguard against common API attacks
- Understand data and market opportunities: As a result of the digital transformation the healthcare industry is experiencing, a stronger focus has been put on improvements to the value and quality of patient care. By turning massive amounts of patient data into actionable information, health leaders can enable more proactive, personalized and engaging care experiences. This includes improvements in speed and accuracy of diagnosis, reduced readmission rates for chronically ill patients and increased medication adherence rates.
To create a secure and scalable digital healthcare ecosystem, organizations and healthcare IT leaders must reassess their data management approach and enable support for both digital and traditional IT needs. But they must not forget to also focus on ensuring compliance with today’s heightened data privacy regulations and security requirements.