Written by Jordan Bires, National Practice Director, Healthcare at DataBank IMX
The Healthcare Information Management System Society (HIMSS) Annual Conference is the hub of all things HIM and HIT (Healthcare IT). HIMSS believes that the industry is currently undergoing a “period of reformation on a scope and scale that is unmatched.” As arguably the single-most influential HIM/HIT professional organization around the world, they are stepping up to help the industry not just make sense of these changes but tap into the promise and potential of technology and data.
This year, HIMSS 2019 had over 43,000 registered attendees and exhibitors. With buzzwords like “patient-centric healthcare”, “consolidating legacy systems”, and “cloud-based data” saturating the conference, it’s easy to get lost in the fact that there isn’t one technology that is going to do everything to increase patient care and experiences.
Technological giants are jumping into the ring
In his keynote address, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, talked about the importance of creating that seamless experience and in order to do so, a lot of different solutions need to come together. He’s not the only one noticing this trend either. “Big players” who were previously not in the healthcare space (Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Uber, etc.) have all identified the importance of interoperability between healthcare technologies and are capitalizing on their influence and brain-power to take the industry to the next level. As these technology giants continue to develop and build out these tools, we all will benefit.
More than just digital transformation
During one of the educational sessions, Philip Bradley, FMISS the Regional Director, and Allen Hsaio, the CMIO from Yale-New Haven Health System discussed how, through the use of the HIMSS Analytics EMR Adoption Model, they managed to revitalize their patient record standards to make their department more progressive. Through the use of this 90-day model, the 1,541-bed health system not only achieved the prestigious HIMSS Stage 7 O-EMRAM in 2015 but forged the path forward to reducing costs and increasing the quality of care throughout their facilities.
The Yale-New Haven Health story is just one example of how hospitals around the country are making strides toward efficiency, understanding that these process improvements empower their clinicians to deliver a higher value of care. HIMSS Stage 7, and ultimately a nearly paperless environment, is the pinnacle of optimized patient outcomes. Now that the world around us is virtually paperless, it’s inspiring to see so many health systems around the world taking steps to adapt. Because as Hsaio stated in his talk, the “true” Stage 0 is “realizing that you will never get rid of all of the paper, but that we need to do something to handle it.”
Enabling collaboration: Breaking down data silos
Within healthcare organizations, data unfortunately often resides in many different silos. Regardless of how that data is organized, many healthcare organizations are tiresomely working to integrate it back into meaningful tools that help improve care, lower costs, and guide them through important business decisions. A few years back, HIM professionals understood that while it’s impossible to completely eliminate unstructured data, keeping it siloed also makes it extremely difficult to share.
A health system’s ability to maximize shared data ultimately comes down to how much they are willing to commit to the process of data integration, which oftentimes includes a major culture shift. HIMSS19 made it clear that hospital executives are finally understanding that collaborating around data is no longer just a competitive advantage but an avenue for clinicians to provide a better quality of care and that fostering a culture of transparency around data sharing is just the first step. Many healthcare organizations are finding that by investing in tools and technology for data analytics and integration, the unstructured data is not just smaller, but much more meaningful.
Electronic Content Management Solutions
Electronic Content Management (ECM) solutions provide order to this data chaos. Solutions such as OnBase by Hyland Software centralize clinical content and establish a single point of access within the electronic medical record (EMR). ECM tools enable collaboration between clinicians as a single place to view medical images such as CT scans, X-rays, and pathology reports all while being presented alongside the patient record.