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Friday, March 3, 2017 5:00 PM

HIMSS17: Solving Interoperability Challenges with Workflow Integration

Written by Rob Rhodes, CHCIO, CISSP, HCISPP, Executive Vice President - iatricSystems

Interoperability Blog HIMSS17 Solving Interoperability Challenges Mar 2017.jpg

I just returned from HIMSS17, and if you did too, you know that with the enormity of a show like this, it is literally impossible to see and talk to everyone that you intend or want to. 

One topic that I think everyone was talking about, a topic that was also prelevent at HIMSS16, was Interoperability. If you walked through the hall and saw booth after booth, almost every one had the term "Interoperability" as one of their offerings (including ours).

Why is this? There's the obvious answer, which is that in this age of healthcare, interoperability seems to be the one thing that eludes us. Partially because there are so many approaches and solutions in the Electronic Health Record space, that it seems impossible to have them all seamlessly work together, at least without some concerted effort.

The other answer is that if you ask ten hospitals what interoperability means to them, you will get ten different answers.

After talking with literally hundreds of people at HIMSS17 (our entire staff, not myself personally), we are discovering that the needs are less about the term "interoperability" and the technology around it, and more about "how do I improve the workflows for my clinicians". Or, put another way, "how do I get the people on the front lines, caring for patients, the information that they need to provide the best care with the least amount of effort?" 

And again, the answer to this is different for everyone, because every hospital has slightly different workflows, different systems, different data available in different locations.

I thought you might be interested in hearing some of the conversations that we had at HIMSS17 around solving these challenges. You will notice that these are not technology conversations (we've figured that part out, and can solve these problems with our FlexButton solution). Rather, they are about "what problem do I need to solve for my clinicians and patients."

Here's a short list of some of the challenges that we discussed with hospitals that we will help them solve:

  • Showing the clinician patient data that is available in the HIE
  • Getting data out of or into their EHR when the EHR refuses to open their systems - ex. getting link from PACs to EHR for radiologists
  • Alerting providers while in the EHR that unread messages exist
  • Allowing providers to view behavorial health records instead of relying on a continuity of care meeting each time
  • Having access to archived data when converting from one EHR to another, without having to move all the data (billing, accounts receivable etc)
  • At registration, check old system for accounts receivable balances, check for insurance verification etc.
  • Sharing data between two sites that have different EHRs, being alerted to data in other sites system, and automatic log-in between systems
  • Notification of new patient data to nurses from within EHR routines

These were just some of the discussions that we had with hospitals and their "wish list" of how they want to make their workflows better. We look forward to helping them solve each of these challenges. I am sure that you have your own "wish list" — I'd love to hear yours.

We're hosting a live demo webinar "Improve EHR Interoperability with FlexButton" on March 14, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. ET. We will show a demonstration of how some of these challenges can be solved. Register now for the webinar to participate in the conversation and share your specific challenges.