Health IT: An in­dus­try ripe for dis­rup­tion

Only con­sumer-cen­tric and in­ter­op­er­a­ble so­lu­tions will sur­vive the next decade

Modern Healthcare - - Regional News - PAUL BLACK CHIEF EX­EC­U­TIVE OF­FI­CER ALLSCRIPTS

For the first time in his­tory, health­care is on a fully dig­i­tal plat­form, with nine out of 10 physi­cian of­fices us­ing an elec­tronic health record (EHR) to­day. With EHRs firmly in place, health­care must now build an ecosys­tem that works with that plat­form to de­liver more value. In a con­ver­sa­tion with Allscripts CEO Paul M. Black, we learn why he is op­ti­mistic about the fu­ture of health­care IT and why it is an in­dus­try ripe for dis­rup­tion.

How Will Ehrs De­velop Over The Next Sev­eral Years?

PB: EHR de­vel­op­ers have been keep­ing pace with reg­u­la­tory re­quire­ments for the last decade, but to­day there is a re­newed fo­cus on us­abil­ity. How can we make these sys­tems more in­tu­itive? How can we over­come day-to-day work­flow chal­lenges to de­liver more value? How can we make EHRs “smarter” to give users the right in­for­ma­tion at the right time?

For too long, users have had to adapt to less-than-optimal so­lu­tions, and that comes at a cost. When ‘provider well­ness’ suf­fers, it can neg­a­tively af­fect de­ci­sion mak­ing and pa­tient safety. As an in­dus­try, we need to con­sis­tently use user-cen­tered de­sign prin­ci­ples to cre­ate the so­lu­tions that re­lieve these bur­dens, en­able ac­cess to all rel­e­vant com­mu­nity data and im­prove qual­ity of care.

What’s Next For In­ter­op­er­abil­ity?

PB: The shift from fee-for-ser­vice to value-based fi­nan­cial mod­els raises the stakes for in­ter­op­er­abil­ity. Providers can earn more if they solve the tech­ni­cal chal­lenges that ob­struct co­or­di­na­tion and col­lab­o­ra­tion.

For many years, the con­ver­sa­tion around in­ter­op­er­abil­ity has been fo­cused on doc­tor-to-doc­tor in­for­ma­tion ex­change. But now that EHRs are com­mon­place, a va­ri­ety of in­ter­op­er­abil­ity use cases high­light all of the op­por­tu­ni­ties that ex­ist “above the EHR.” We have moved be­yond merely cre­at­ing con­nec­tions. To­day’s ad­vances of se­man­tic in­ter­op­er­abil­ity and work­flow so­lu­tions make data more im­pact­ful for care­givers and pa­tients.

As an in­dus­try, we need to work to­ward in­creased ac­cess for stake­hold­ers and a frame­work that im­proves pa­tients’ ac­cess to their own med­i­cal records. Our EHR-ag­nos­tic con­sumer plat­form gives pa­tients a sin­gle place to store their data from mul­ti­ple or­ga­ni­za­tions us­ing dis­parate EHRs.

Ev­ery step to­ward greater clar­ity and con­sen­sus en­ables us to in­vest con­fi­dently in new in­ter­op­er­abil­ity tech­nolo­gies and stan­dards, such as Fast Health­care In­ter­op­er­abil­ity Re­sources (FHIR), and helps the in­dus­try aban­don habits that have been keep­ing in­for­ma­tion locked away.

What Role Will Ap­pli­ca­tion Pro­gram­ming In­ter­faces (apis) Play In Im­prov­ing In­ter­op­er­abil­ity?

PB: Allscripts has been in the API busi­ness for as long as the iPhone has been in the mar­ket. Mo­men­tum of this open API strat­egy is tremen­dous, and these tool­kits will help make data more mo­bile in a sim­ple, cost-ef­fec­tive way. We have a huge ecosys­tem of clients and third-party ap­pli­ca­tion pro­gram de­vel­op­ers. A ro­bust ap­proach to open APIs will play a big role in achiev­ing the po­ten­tial and prom­ise of in­ter­op­er­abil­ity, if ven­dors em­brace them and providers adopt them.

Through the Allscripts de­vel­oper net­work, we’ve helped health­care ap­pli­ca­tions ex­change data nearly 3 bil­lion times in just four years, and that rate con­tin­ues to climb. In Au­gust 2017 Allscripts hit a new mile­stone by fa­cil­i­tat­ing the ex­change of more than 100 mil­lion data shares within a sin­gle month.

Health IT is al­ways about the pa­tient. By giv­ing in­no­va­tors ac­cess to APIs, providers can in­te­grate the in­no­va­tions that mat­ter most to their pa­tients.

What Will It Take To Dis­rupt Health­care It?

PB: Large EHR sys­tems are not go­ing to be fully dis­rupted any­time soon. How­ever, EHR ven­dors need to of­fer an open plat­form that en­cour­ages in­no­va­tion and con­nec­tion to other sys­tems. If they don’t, they will be dis­rupted much sooner. Con­sumers are de­mand­ing more than ever be­fore and will con­tinue to ex­pect mo­bile, con­sumer-friendly tech­nolo­gies. Con­sider re­cent stud­ies that find 70% of pa­tients want to re­quest re­fills elec­tron­i­cally and pre­dict 64% of pa­tients will sched­ule ap­point­ments us­ing dig­i­tal tools by 2019. They’ll also re­quire not just ac­cess to their health in­for­ma­tion, but con­trol over it as well.

In 2018 and be­yond, new en­trants to the mar­ket­place – such as IBM, Google or Ama­zon – will be fo­cused on the pa­tient’s ex­pe­ri­ence in health­care. They will be fo­cused on mak­ing it much eas­ier for the con­sumer to man­age health­care. We are also tak­ing this ap­proach, rec­og­niz­ing that pa­tients re­quire data as mo­bile as they are.

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