Why health IT has failed patients
It’s easy for health IT vendors to get caught up in techno-jargon, buzz words and value propositions: standards, Triple Aim, workflows, TCO and so on.
The complexity of healthcare technologies sometimes draws focus away from the patient.
- We’re failing patients every time their healthcare information is not readily available to them and their clinicians.
- We’re failing patients when their clinicians don’t have access to innovative, effective tools and applications – specific to their organization, preferences and area of practice – that enable better clinical decision-making.
- We’re failing patients when their providers can’t focus on them during a visit because providers must click through applications, log in and out of systems, or access multiple tools to do their job.
The health IT industry will succeed only when it recognizes that what truly matters – the sole reason health IT exists – is to ensure better care for patients.
3 healthcare priorities for patients
So, what priorities are driving patients – and how can health IT help deliver?
- Mobility: Today’s patients are on the move. They’re seeing primary care providers, going to urgent care centers, visiting specialists and/or spending time in the hospital for acute conditions. Data, unfortunately, often reside in multiple systems across the community. Even though most patients want their clinicians to share information, it is challenging to do so easily.
- Access: Patients have grown accustomed to convenient access to consumer and retail services. And they want health care to be delivered in the same way. Highly personalized attention. No delays or roadblocks. Opportunities to interact on their own time.
- Reduced cost: Patients are shouldering a great burden of the cost of their care. A recent survey by Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research & Education Trust found that, between 2010 and 2015, deductibles for all workers have risen almost three times as fast as premiums, and about seven times as fast as wages and inflation.
How can health IT do a better job?
Until patients can go anywhere, anytime and know the provider is up to date, our job is not done. It is more important than ever to remain steadfast in our laser-focus on patients.
Two key concepts can help us do this: Technology that is open and technology that is interoperable.
Health IT built on an open platform enables a world of possibilities and potential for healthcare organizations – and for their patients. Core systems that are truly open enable providers to extend and scale functionality – so they can be flexible for their patient populations and internal stakeholders. They can easily integrate proprietary software or plug in new applications from the industry’s most creative innovators.
When we add genuine semantic interoperability to the mix – true vendor-agnostic interoperability – we deliver complete, harmonized and actionable data right into the clinician’s home system. What does this mean?
· We enable providers to exchange data with any system
· We “translate” that data into the language of the provider’s home system
· We limit the “firehose” effect by organizing the information displayed.
Without it, clinicians lack the full picture for optimal decision-making and outcomes. Patients suffer from this lack of access.
This result of the open-plus-interoperable equation is a truly connected community. Where care is coordinated across all settings and venues. Where all clinicians have the complete picture of a patient. Where patients know they are the center of the healthcare universe.
Isn’t that what we’re all aiming for?
Editor’s note: To learn more about Allscripts’ vision for open, interoperable, connected health care, click here.