Healthcare IT solutions have become an essential part of providing patient care and are integral to operations at healthcare facilities — but ISVs’ work in the healthcare industry is far from over.
In an exclusive interview on the last day of the HIMSS19 Global Conference and Exhibition, Chris Sullivan, Global Healthcare Practice Lead for Zebra Technologies, provided details on five healthcare IT trends that are creating new opportunities for ISVs.
1Connecting Patients With Information
Patients want access to their healthcare data and information that can help them make the best decisions about their treatment. Sullivan points out, however, that ISVs shouldn’t assume this applies only to patients at home. Zebra is working with its ISV partners to give hospital patients and their families access to the data they need, as well as ways to efficiently communicate with members of their care teams. Sullivan says software solutions can display information on a patient’s personal mobile device, a hospital’s tablet, a monitor, or a television screen in the patient’s room. “It’s a value driver that improves the patient experience,” Sullivan says.
He adds that these solutions also have an educational component that can contribute to better patient outcomes. “Reimbursement is moving from episodic to value-based,” Sullivan explains. “So that’s shifting the clinical focus from reacting to preventing healthcare issues from occurring. Healthcare providers want ISVs to develop solutions that inform and educate while patients are in the hospital. There’s a correlation between education and a reduction in patient readmission rates,” he says.
2Care Team Collaboration
Sullivan stresses that in addition to making data available to patients, it’s also necessary to provide healthcare practitioners with real-time access to information. The shift to value-based care requires that care teams collaborate, coordinate care, and communicate securely. The solutions care team members use must also be interoperable with electronic health record (EHR) systems.
3Monitoring Patients at Home — and Managing Massive Data Streams
The number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices available to monitor vital statistics such as respiration and heart rate, temperature, activity, blood sugar levels, and more has grown astronomically in recent years. Healthcare providers need data intelligence platforms that make sense of all the information these devices collect, filter out insignificant findings, prioritize what healthcare providers need to know, and share the data with EHR systems.
Sullivan points out this is driving a change in the healthcare industry. “Medical device manufacturers are going through a metamorphosis to become ISVs in their own right,” he says. “The device itself in some regards has become secondary to the software around it.”
4Data Security at the Edge
The pervasiveness of mobility and IoT in healthcare has also created the need to secure these devices. Sullivan says at Zebra’s HIMSS event, industry leaders expressed their demand for edge device security “loud and clear.” Healthcare practitioners want the full power of EHR in their mobile devices and the ability to leverage IoT technology, but not at the risk of patient privacy or security.
Sullivan says the healthcare industry leaders who participated in the event challenged ISVs to accelerate the development of solutions that secure patient health information and ensure data security at the edge of the enterprise.
On the first day of the HIMSS conference, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the Interoperability and Patient Access Proposed Rule, which outlines ways to make patient data more accessible through “open, secure, standardized, and machine-readable formats while reducing restrictive burdens on healthcare providers.”
Sullivan says the average hospital patient is connected to approximately three to six devices and patient data is existing in as many 12 different IT systems. Often, the data from medical devices doesn’t reach EHR systems. Without interoperable systems, Sullivan says it creates separate islands of data. “The healthcare industry needs the ISV community to work faster and more aggressively toward open information sharing,” he says.
Sullivan adds that the CMS is also tying financial incentives to sharing data with other healthcare providers. If a hospital group is penalized because they can’t share data, it’s an opportunity for ISVs to step in and help.
Technology gives healthcare providers new ways to communicate, collaborate, and collect vital data, but it also requires solutions to security and data sharing challenges. ISVs working in the healthcare space have the opportunity to grow by providing the answers your clients need.