7 reasons to buy a data platform instead of building it in-house

August 8, 2018 Shawn Richards

For many years, healthcare organizations have tackled requirements, business needs and challenges with limited budgets and resources. Each stakeholder focused on their immediate needs with little consideration of how each of them should or could participate in the broader challenge of healthcare integration and patient care. Participation in this broader challenge is complex, expensive and always evolving. Few healthcare participants have the knowledge, ongoing operational budgets, and resources to meet these challenges.

While healthcare organizations have built silos, other industries and society, in general, has little patience for the lack of proper integration. For example, patients often assume that a visit to the hospital is known and understood by their personal care physician. Too often this is not the case. Patients assume that “touching” the healthcare system at any point is recorded, shared appropriately and securely across the continuum of healthcare. Such an expectation, however, requires careful handling of Personal Health Information, Data Sharing Agreements, standards compliance, reporting requirements, legislative compliance, data governance, consent management, privacy controls, scalability, and flexibility to name just a few of the challenges. Patients expect participants and vendors operating in the healthcare industry to solve these problems.

Integration and interoperability are pain points for most healthcare organizations. Their primary purpose is to enable the delivery of patient-centric care by providing clinicians with timely access to data that helps to improve the decision-making process and empower fully informed actions.

But in an increasingly digital age, the many systems designed to improve the delivery of care can become a burden. This is because legacy systems and new technologies each come with a unique programming language, and in some instances, these disparate systems cannot communicate with each other. To enable the timely access to healthcare data these systems need to communicate. To meet these interoperability requirements, some organizations will invest in in-house developers to connect their unique collection of systems together. 

This may meet the short-term needs of connecting systems, but in the long-term, there will be ongoing, and increasing maintenance costs with a custom development approach. Or other organizations will try to solve their interoperability problems by having multiple disparate systems with multiple vendors.

The other option for providing interoperability is to make use of a commercial healthcare-focused data platform. These act as a universal translator for the multiple systems running within organizations. 

So why would your organization invest in a commercial healthcare-focused data platform?

1. Scalable to future-proof for new data sources such as genomics and consumer device data

  • A genomic variation file can be 75MB in size. Genomics are already being collected and will only become more common in the future. 
  • Consumer device data will generate numerous bursts of small data per person.

2. Support for non-traditional healthcare data types

  • Customized data spaces that can be created to store any type of data including Social Determinants of Health and have automatically generated APIs that enable access to the data.
  • A system that can replay and extract additional data when required. This enables an agile approach and is especially useful when dealing with non-traditional data types, such as social or behavioral data.
3. Open at all levels
  • A data platform that exposes data and services using FHIR and REST-based APIs. Data liquidity enables information to be made available at all points where it is needed in a secure and authorized way.
4. Access to an emerging ecosystem of applications and services
  • Users gain access to an ecosystem of healthcare companies and developers to innovate using Open APIs. Developers can build their applications against a sandbox and easily deploy them against data platform deployments.
5. Ability to provide data enrichment
  • Ability to enrich the data with lookups and additional processing, for example by providing all the elements of information, both the code of a medication and the description.
6. Patient-focused functionality
  • Built-in consent service to enable patient records to be protected if the patient does not want their record shared.
  • Integrated notifications alert providers about their patients in other organizations. For example, GPs can receive notifications of a patient admission or discharge from an acute facility. 
7. Fully integrated solution to accelerate deployment and upgrades
  • Reduces the service effort required to do initial deployments and system upgrades.
If you would like to learn more about a healthcare-focused data platform that is open at all levels and can provide access to any type of data with Open APIs, download the white paper
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