While healthcare waits for the expanded data interoperability that FHIR promises, the industry needs an immediate solution for accessing and using disparate data from across the continuum of care. With FHIR potentially several years away, continuity of care documents (CCDs) are the best option for acquiring the ambulatory clinical care data health systems need to close quality gaps today. Because organizations that rely only on claims data to drive quality improvement risk missing out on more that 80 percent of patient information, CCDs are the current must-have answer to interoperability for successful quality improvement.
When health system clinicians make care decisions based on their organization’s EHR data alone, they’re only using a small portion of patient health information. Additional data sources—such as health information exchanges (HIEs) and patient-generated and -reported data—round out the full picture of an individual’s health and healthcare needs. This comprehensive insight enables critical, and sometimes life-saving, treatment and health management choices.
To leverage the data from beyond the four walls of a health system and combine it with clinical, financial, and operational EHR data, organizations need an interoperable platform approach to health data. The Health Catalyst® Data Operating System (DOS™), for example, combines, manages, and leverages disparate forms of health data for a complete view of the patient and more accurate insights into the best care decisions.
Population health and value-based payment demand data from multiple sources and multiple organizations. Health systems must access information from across the continuum of care to accurately understand their patients’ healthcare needs beyond the acute-care setting (e.g., reports and results from primary care and specialists). While health system EHRs have a wealth of big-picture data about healthcare delivery (e.g., patient satisfaction, cost, and outcomes), HIEs add the clinical data (e.g., records and transactions) to round out the bigger picture of patient care, as well as the data sharing capabilities needed to disseminate the information.
By pairing HIE capability with an advanced analytics platform, a health system can leverage data to improve processes in four important outcomes improvement areas:
Five Reasons Why Health Catalyst Acquired Medicity and What It Means for Interoperability, as Explained by Dale Sanders, President of Technology
Why did Health Catalyst acquire Medicity? Dale Sanders, President of Technology, shares five reasons and what it means for interoperability:
Medicity has several petabytes of valuable data content.
Medicity’s data governance expertise.
Medicity’s 7 x 24 real-time cloud operations expertise.
Medicity’s expertise in real-time EHR integration.
Medicity’s presence and expertise in the loosely affiliated, community ambulatory care management space.
Interoperability in healthcare, despite frequent objections by EHR vendors and health systems (e.g. “EHR integration is too difficult to manage”), is integral to delivering high quality patient care.
Interoperability means different things to different health system stakeholders, from leaders seeing it as a purchase they must defend, to clinicians relying on it to get the information they need, when they need it. But it boils down to delivering the highest-quality, most effective, and most efficient care to patients—a goal that’s easier to define than achieve.
One of interoperability’s most important use cases, EHR integration, is challenged by EHR vendors and health systems worried about integration challenges, from HIT vendors wanting to integrate too many tools, to EHR access fears. Fortunately, objections are dissipating with the introduction of national interoperability policy and better cooperation among industry participants.
Amidst these distractions, health systems need to regain focus on interoperability’s top goal: improving patient care by making the best information available at the point of care.