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Wednesday, July 20, 2016 11:00 AM

How to be the Superhero of Healthcare IT!

Written by Rob Inglish, Practice Director, Patient Identity & Vendor Analysis/Selection


It can take super-human strength to meet all of your IT goals!

If you're like a lot of healthcare IT executives that I have spoken to lately, it seems that you need super-human strength to be able to tackle all of your healthcare IT priorities. It's nearly impossible for IT departments to get everything done that is asked for or required (either by the government, or other hospital executives).

This is due in part, to the overwhelming demands on healthcare IT departments, whether it be an increase in the complexity of regulatory requirements to move to value-based care in a short amount of time, achieving the holy grail of interoperability, the need for analytics, or the threat of cyber-security and managing patient privacy. The list can go on and on!

You really would be a super hero if you were able to achieve all of your priorities by yourself. Because this is nearly impossible, I have seen an increase in hospitals reaching out and asking for help — that's what can make you a true super-hero!

One of the key areas where I am seeing hospitals bring in experts to help them is in the area of achieving interoperability. We surveyed attendees at HIMSS16 earlier this year and asked them:

"How likely are you to invest in areas of interoperability in 2016-2017?"

More than 86% said they would be investing in Health IT, meaning they would purchase systems, or hire experts to help them achieve interoperability of their systems.

So, with all of these competing and very important initiatives, how does a hospital decide what to tackle in house, vs. what to outsource?

Here are just a few examples of how we have helped hospitals solve some specific challenges:

Example #1:

We've assisted hospitals in setting up interfaces with Lab companies to receive results unsolicited from the HIE, and go through an automated process to post those to the correct patient record.

This type of integration requires working with multiple vendors, and managing the project and all its moving parts, to make sure the correct data flows to the right place. For example, we had to work with the HIE and EMPI vendor to determine the correct attributes for matching to be able to interface with the Lab system, and then do interface work to get data back from the HIE and post it to the correct record.

Example #2:

We've worked with hospitals to alert the primary care providers when one of their patients is admitted to a hospital facility that is within the same HIE. This is key step in moving towards interoperability, so the entire care team has access to the full patient record.

Example #3:

We've worked with hospitals that are migrating their EHR, and we did the work to create new interfaces to connect to the new systems so they could focus on the larger migration tasks. This involved managing, testing, and deploying their re-vamped interfaces. In addition we did a lot of work to clean up their EMPI before transferring the data to the new EHR. (This is very important if you are considering a move to a new EHR, and a lot of people find they don't have the resources for this type of work).

Quick Tips about When it Makes Sense to Outsource:

  • Outsource short-term projects
  • Outsource time-sensitive projects
  • Outsource projects where you have to work with multiple vendors (or that are heavy in project management)
  • Identify where you don't have expertise in-house, and look for partners that have done those types of projects multiple times
  • Outsource similar types of projects (for example, all of your interface engine work)

How to get help (or how to become a super-hero!):

Check out this eBook about challenges and tips for outsourcing interoperability projects like interface engine or integration work. Download this eBook: Top Challenges That Keep Hospital CIOs Up at Night - EHR Optimization