The Seamless Integration of Systems

September 28, 2017 Dr. Dana Thomas, Product Director

The ways in which we—as providers, consumers, and payers—engage with data are constantly evolving. 

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For a comprehensive overview of this subject, please download our white paper, "The Journey to Integrated Care: The Building Blocks for Population Health Management."

The advent of big data has brought with it an increasing need for better tools to efficiently and accurately index the information that is captured and stored so that it can be optimally retrieved when it is needed. One natural evolution of this has come in the development of "data user" profiles to help delineate the various ways in which we might need different information from the same system at different times. It’s necessary to separate these user profiles away from individuals because, as individuals, we aren’t always looking at given data for the same reason.

Clinicians in a patient’s circle of care may be interacting with a patient’s electronic health record in completely different situations from one day to the next. The two core things that must be accounted for in this respect are relevance and security. An emergency department physician may engage with a patient’s electronic health record in an acute situation to see their medical history, what medications they are on, and if they have any allergies or other medical warnings. In this context, the entire health record is relevant and it will include sensitive information. Access to this data will help the physician to make the most informed decision and ensure the best possible outcome for that patient. If the same patient is being seen in an outpatient setting for the ongoing care of their chronic disease, then this data may not include any sensitive information, as the level of security is higher for that data and it may not be relevant to care delivery in that situation.

These two data interactions—while similar in that they involve provision of care for an individual—have very different needs.

As users, we wear different hats at different times but the data, particularly patient data, remains constant. This development of user profiles—that are necessarily separate from users as individuals—should, when implemented correctly, improve access rather than make it more difficult. Instead of only addressing the who of data access, we’re also addressing whythat data is being accessed to help support the various combinations of access and priority. It’s important to note that filtering by user profile and identity are not mutually exclusive approaches. By gatekeeping data access based on user credentials as well as identity, we’re able to make more of the right data accessible without compromising on security.

In addition to increasing user access to the right data at the right time, the ability to filter and tag this information is also extremely helpful for creating highly informative user profile matrices. For someone working on secure analytics or trying to isolate user data based on the way different operators interact with a database, we can paint a more granular—and therefore more useful—illustration of that user base. This in turn helps clinicians and managers better determine how and where resources can and should be allocated. For patient and customer outreach, this can be an invaluable tool for prioritizing offerings and services. Conversely, for the patients and customers themselves, this will provide them with better curated, more relevant, and highly informative content and materials. 

This type of system allows for highly secure transparency—where data is accessible but still protected—and keeps a patient’s electronic health record's integrity at the forefront. 

Big data has brought with it an increasing need for better tools to efficiently and accurately index the information being captured and a means to effectively store and retrieve this smart data. This is especially important in healthcare, where the need for integrated care has become essential. There is a wide range of different healthcare data types that need to be brought together from many and various sources that often cross organizational boundaries and different care settings. This data needs to be respected and protected as it is made available in a patient’s electronic health record via the established user profile views. 

Healthcare is evolving. As we move to orient the health system around patients and their lifestyles, we must provide more integrated care—bringing together services and systems across the health ecosystem—so we can deliver care that best serves individuals. Health IT has a huge part to play in the seamless integration of systems within this ecosystem.

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For a comprehensive overview of this subject, please download our white paper, "The Journey to Integrated Care: The Building Blocks for Population Health Management."

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