LEAN Healthcare: IT Interoperability – Reality or Myth?

Getting data to work together is easier said than done. But with the right focus, the result will be knowledge that is readily accessible and delivered when and where it truly matters. -Joseph Frassica, MD

Fulfilling the promise of IT interoperability has been the Holy Grail of health IT for the past decade. EHR’s like Epic have given consistency and depth to what goes into every patient’s medical record, but they do little to improve overall hospital productivity and financial performance. Enterprise systems like Cerner have all the pieces: EHR, scheduling, lab, financial, etc. However, not all the parts “talk” to each other so multiple sign on and data transcription is still necessary.

An article written for Hospitals & Health Network (H&HND) by Joseph Frassica, MD, the Chief Medical Informatics Officer, Chief Technology Officer and Vice President at Philips Healthcare in Andover, Mass. discusses this very problem and why it is so. Specifically, he calls out the lack of IT interoperability or IT system integration as one of the critical issues health systems must address in order to improve their financial performance and quality of care. He goes on to suggest how hospitals and health systems can ultimately achieve IT interoperability but recognizes to do so will require organizational leadership to “change mindsets” and “think big.” Below is an excerpt from the article:

The Road to Interoperability for Health IT

The rush to implement electronic health record strategies has fueled a proliferation of solutions. But systems, like people, need to work together seamlessly to deliver their maximum value. Easier said than done. So why hasn’t the promise of interoperability with all the various systems — electronic health records, monitors, labs, finance, and so forth — been realized? To answer that question, let’s look at the past decade or so. As hospitals and health systems invested in EHRs to collect and store data, they didn’t always do so with an eye on the future.

The Rise of Silos

EHR systems evolved organically as silos of information, because leaders weren’t thinking ahead enough about how the collected data could impact decisions and processes for the entire health system. A large health care delivery system might have 90 or 100 point-to-point interfaces over which information is shared between systems, often with a core EHR serving as the primary data repository. If you were to draw the information model of the average health care system, it would look like a spider web with links stretching off in all directions: an extremely complex informatics infrastructure, with enormous maintenance requirements and hundreds of potential points of failure. Clearly, this is not a sustainable model.

Click here for the entire article.

Optimium Health could not agree more with Dr. Frassica’s observations and recommendations for how to, at last, grasp the interoperability Holy Grail. Our mission is to help health organizations get more value from their existing IT systems by providing overlay software that optimizes clinical workflow orchestration and facilitates timely, accurate communication between caregivers. The net result: improved overall staff productivity, patient throughput, and quality of care.

If you would like more information on how Optimium Health can help your organization improve LEAN Healthcare: IT interoperability while lowering operational costs and enhancing care delivery, please contact Vicki Harrison at vicki@waohi.azurewebsites.net.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.