ELLKAY is a leader in building creative, cloud-based solutions for advanced connectivity, structured data access, interoperability and workflow management, allowing you to concentrate on high-quality patient care. With connectivity to over 40,000 practices across over 550 EHR/PM systems, ELLKAY builds the data pipeline for across the care continuum. Specializing in extracting and converting clinical data from virtually any source EMR system, we are the healthcare industry’s “Data Plumbers.” Kamal Patel, Chief Information Officer, ELLKAY
What emerging technologies hold the most potential for the healthcare industry?
In today’s evolving healthcare environment, we are experiencing the impact of an influx in healthcare data, health systems moving away from legacy systems and archiving data, and an increase in solutions for patient involvement towards a value-based healthcare system. Simultaneously, there are technological advances and innovations in response to these trends. As patients become more engaged in their healthcare experience, providers want the technology and tools to communicate with patients and provide the best care possible. An increasing amount of applications are being developed to foster that involvement, such as Rx.Health by Mount Sinai, which treats mobile applications as prescriptions for patients. However, with patient’s involvement, health systems and hospitals must now have the ability to manage the clinical data exchange with a robust communication platform. An influx of data, coupled with managing it from disparate systems, necessitates a data interoperability platform that can move discrete data across all parts of the healthcare network, enabling internal management and data tracking. The development of economical clinical data exchange platforms that can empower health systems to track clinical data requests and responses, search documents easily, validate if documents are CMS RADV compliant, and identify RAF scores are all critical for increased reimbursements in value-based models. Cost-cutting technologies like interface engines are near the top of the innovation list. Instead of building and implementing new interfaces each time, cloud-based interface platforms allow health systems and laboratories to reuse existing interfaces. They allow for non-technical resources to easily configure interfaces using drop-down lists and achieve super-fast deployments – sometimes within minutes. Another significant cost-cutting technology is legacy systems archives. As health systems become increasingly reliant on their EMR, they are looking for streamlined ways to access the data stored in their legacy systems. Archive systems link directly to the EHR and offer an alternative to read-only data, complying with federal regulations and maintaining continuity in patient care by retaining access to patient data in an actionable, economical, and meaningful format.
What are the challenges associated with strategically implementing innovative technologies?
With archive systems, for example, the biggest challenge is for health systems to be aware that the option to shut down expensive maintenance fees for their legacy systems even exists. Once they invest the initial few weeks to understand the processes, options, and workflow, then additional attention to proper resource allocation is also important. With the implementation of modern interface platforms, an initial challenge is understanding an entirely new concept and how that new tool can solve an immediate challenge. When CIOs commit and recognize the long-term benefit of an interface engine strategy, they can drive the shift in how their personnel resources are used, relying on project managers to execute the strategy rather than leaning on developers to create new projects all the time.
How can organizations justify investments in new technologies?
Hospitals and health systems investing in new technologies, particularly some of those we have explored, will actualize significant savings quickly. Often, it is a small investment in the short term for substantial positive revenue impact in the long run. Investing in archive systems reduces ongoing costs and enables the retrieval of consolidated legacy patient data stored in various systems from within their primary EHR – making it easy-to-use and simple. A cost effective clinical data exchange platform provides a holistic view of the patient’s history from various sources, helping to decrease duplicate testing, improve the patient’s experience and engagement, and document for quality and risk. Interfaces that are speedy to implement significantly reduce development costs, saving health systems the time and resources associated with hiring interface developers with high salaries. In less time and with faster deployment, an interface engine changes the development timeframe from months to days and sometimes minutes. Tools and technologies like these, and others, have been developed in response to market needs and challenges. They have the potential to not only improve how healthcare is delivered, but also transform the operational and financial workflow that will result in a significant, positive, economic impact.