What’s next for in­ter­op­er­abil­ity

We’ll see more open, con­nected sys­tems as health­care con­sumers de­mand ac­cess to data any­time, any­where

Modern Healthcare - - Executive Insight - Paul Black CEO Allscripts

In­ter­op­er­abil­ity re­mains the foun­da­tion for ad­vanc­ing health­care be­cause, in to­day’s value-based mar­ket, every­one is a stake­holder. To do what’s best for pa­tients, providers need to share crit­i­cal in­for­ma­tion and co­or­di­nate care across the en­tire con­tin­uum, no mat­ter which ven­dor they use to store their data.

How is the in­dus­try’s def­i­ni­tion of in­ter­op­er­abil­ity evolv­ing?

PB: 2018 will be an im­por­tant year for in­ter­op­er­abil­ity. We’re see­ing more clients use Fast Health­care In­ter­op­er­abil­ity Re­sources (FHIR®) apps to at­test for mean­ing­ful use and en­gage with pa­tients. As health in­for­ma­tion ex­changes (HIEs), in­dus­try al­liances and gov­ern­ment en­ti­ties dis­cuss what it means to be in­ter­op­er­a­ble, we will see more stan­dards around provider-to-provider ex­change of in­for­ma­tion. The fi­nal Trusted Ex­change Frame­work and Com­mon Agree­ment (also re­ferred to as TEFCA) reg­u­la­tions will pro­vide more clar­ity around con­sumer ac­cess to health in­for­ma­tion.

Allscripts has been com­mit­ted to open, in­ter­op­er­a­ble sys­tems for a long time. In 2007, we launched a re­search and de­vel­op­ment group to fo­cus on solv­ing in­ter­op­er­abil­ity is­sues by us­ing Ap­pli­ca­tion Pro­gram­ming In­ter­faces (APIs). To­day, we con­tinue to cul­ti­vate an ecosys­tem where con­sumers own their data and have ac­cess to the in­for­ma­tion that en­ables them to play a greater role in their own health.

What role will APIs play in in­ter­op­er­abil­ity?

PB: APIs en­able dif­fer­ent types of soft­ware to in­ter­act with each other, and they are quickly be­com­ing cen­tral in the in­ter­op­er­abil­ity con­ver­sa­tion. APIs make data more mo­bile in a sim­ple and cost-ef­fec­tive way. This is par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant as health­care con­sumers de­mand more con­trol over their in­for­ma­tion.

APIs should be open and en­able providers to con­nect so­lu­tions, no mat­ter which ven­dor cre­ated them or wants to con­nect. Only then will pa­tients be able to ac­cess their data, and take it with them to other providers. Health­care in­for­ma­tion should be as mo­bile as con­sumers.

Through our developer net­work, we’ve helped health­care ap­pli­ca­tions ex­change data 3.6 bil­lion times in just four years, and that rate con­tin­ues to climb. To­day, more than 7,600 third-party de­vel­op­ers, rep­re­sent­ing more than 460 com­pa­nies, work with Allscripts to de­ploy in­no­va­tive so­lu­tions us­ing FHIR and our open APIs. We have nearly 200 cer­ti­fied ap­pli­ca­tions avail­able through the com­pany’s ap­pli­ca­tion store (https://store.allscripts.com).

What are the big­gest chal­lenges ahead?

PB: Look­ing to­ward the fu­ture, chal­lenges in­clude emer­gency pre­pared­ness, cloud-based stor­age and wide­spread adop­tion of tech­nol­ogy that en­ables in­ter­op­er­abil­ity. There’s no ques­tion that the cloud­based tech­nol­ogy will play a role as sys­tems face with the un­ten­able costs as­so­ci­ated with nat­u­ral dis­as­ters and emer­gency pre­pared­ness.

Hur­ri­canes, tor­na­does, Nor’easters and wild­fires re­quire the evac­u­a­tion of crit­i­cally ill pa­tients with com­plex med­i­cal con­cerns, and it’s im­por­tant for med­i­cal in­for­ma­tion to fol­low each pa­tient ac­cord­ingly. There’s no ques­tion that in five to ten years, most of the ap­pli­ca­tions that hos­pi­tals ac­cess will be cloud-based.

Can you give an ex­am­ple of some­one who is suc­ceed­ing with emer­gency pre­pared­ness?

PB: One of our clients has hos­pi­tals, clin­ics and ur­gent care clin­ics through­out the US, with sev­eral fa­cil­i­ties in Texas and Florida. This client uses our dbMo­tion plat­form for data ag­gre­ga­tion and se­man­tic in­ter­op­er­abil­ity.

When the hur­ri­canes hit Texas and Florida last year, the or­ga­ni­za­tion used dbMo­tion as part of its com­pre­hen­sive evac­u­a­tion plan to safely move pa­tients and re­ceive them in other hos­pi­tals. In Florida, for ex­am­ple, this or­ga­ni­za­tion up­loaded 26,000 pa­tient records overnight and within hours cre­ated an evac­u­a­tion plan for all 30+ hos­pi­tals in the state. All of the pa­tient records trav­eled with them elec­tron­i­cally, so there were no gaps in care. This is the power of an in­ter­op­er­a­ble sys­tem in the hands of ex­cep­tional care­givers.

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