Leverage APIs to Transform Healthcare

There was a time when the healthcare industry largely relied on phone calls and fax machines to establish interoperability within the system. Health records would exist in different versions in different places and often critical health data would be too scattered to give a clear picture of a patient’s health. Then came a time when the concept of value-based care began taking root and the importance of having data in one place in an easy-to-access format made tremendous sense rather than collecting it from a multitude of data silos. 

The healthcare industry was now waking up to healthcare analytics, interoperability, and the importance of APIs. Across a forever-expanding healthcare landscape, application programming interfaces (APIs) gave organizations the opportunity to streamline and share data for meaningful exchanges between systems.  

APIs allow systems to communicate and depending on how they are configured they can do a lot more. They can send data, retrieve data, or even update individual health records as and when required. The ability of a healthcare facility to determine the coverage a patient is entitled to for a particular procedure after feeding information about the patient into their system that is linked to insurance companies is a classic example of how empowering APIs can be. 

Interoperability lies at the core of APIs and demonstrates how critical coordinated care is for the healthcare industry. Understanding a patient’s journey is important to ensure they are on the road to recovery quickly and effectively. The fractured details of a patient’s clinical story however often pose a big challenge. For instance, it is important to know if a patient after leaving a facility following a surgery signed up for a remote monitoring program or was taken care of at home with the health of a home health agency. These are the finer things that add up to create the bigger picture. 

APIs are a booming market and the healthcare API market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.72% in the forecast period 2021 – 2028 accounting for USD 440.76 million by 20281. APIs are creating dynamic digital ecosystems to help the healthcare industry attain operational excellence and improve customer experiences. APIs are clearly setting the stage for successful treatments and recovery ensuring interoperability every step of the way.

The role of APIs in the evolving healthcare landscape

The proliferation of smart wearable devices and wellbeing apps is further iterating the role of APIs in the digitally advanced health and wellness industry of today. The global wearables market grew 27.2% year over year in the fourth quarter of 2020 and the shipments of wearable devices globally have now touched 153.5 million2

The pandemic has further accelerated the need for a better lifestyle and wider access to healthcare. The US Centres for Medicare and Medicaid Services are largely relying on APIs to bridge the gap between patients and healthcare. In fact, both healthcare organizations and payers need to use APIs – particularly the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FIHR) standards to attain optimum interoperability. 

Explains Jay Bercher, deputy program manager at Solutions By Design II, “It goes without saying that APIs have closed the gap in many ways on how information is sent, retrieved, and processed. However, some technological gaps have appeared. As there is a lack of data standards in the industry and multiple technologies, APIs must be created custom to the needs of the service it is providing for each system.”

Technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) are also key drivers. AI is facilitating the conversion of patient information into crucial diagnostic information to help detect conditions early on. Today, data sharing with correlations is helping in a big way. Just to iterate this, if 500 people are buying medicines for cough and cold using their credit cards in a particular area around the same time, it indicates the possibility of an outbreak in that particular area. 

Different instances and scenarios highlight the importance of data and data sharing. APIs are increasingly being used to conduct wellness programs using cloud-based solutions to promote healthy lifestyles, offer behavioral change capabilities, and set fitness goals to stay on the wellness track. 

As wearables and the Internet of Things (IoT) become mainstream, APIs enable the swift transfer of data for users to review and act upon. Data from third-party accounts is also gathered to enable a more integrated approach towards healthcare. 

Ensuring interoperability in the healthcare ecosystem

The implementation of FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) in healthcare systems for electronic data exchange will make sharing and accessing healthcare data faster. They prepare both the healthcare payer and the provider systems to afford greater access for patients to their own healthcare information by defining a standard minimum of data that must be made available.

As Health IT system developers implement the interoperability standards, they must shift the focus to meet their immediate interface requirements to conform to interoperability standards. The FHIR specification provides a roadmap to interoperable data exchange. This ensures that the adherence to this specification means all of the supported system interactions will work with other systems claiming conformance to the same standard.

The challenges and barriers to API adoption

Despite all the attention that APIs get and with nearly 90% of healthcare stakeholders considering APIs to be mission-critical for business strategies as per a study3

  • Only 24% are actually using them at scale
  • 67% of providers, 61% of payers, and 51% of healthcare tech vendors expect to use APIs at scale in 3 years

Providers participating in the study were more concerned about security (52%) and cost (47%) while payers had other concerns such as technical infrastructure (45%), privacy (43%), and lack of industry standards (43%). The learning curve is steep and calls for specialized skill sets to create or use APIs and address the challenges in adopting them. Patients need to understand the role of APIs too and standardization methods need to be employed to ensure efficient use of APIs. 

Ben Moscovitch, project director of health information technology at Pew Charitable Trusts points out, “Increased use of APIs—particularly those based on common adopted and consistently deployed standards—has the potential to make healthcare more efficient, lead to better care coordination, and give providers and patients additional tools to access information and ensure high-quality, efficient, safe, and value-based care. Yet obstacles remain, such as some hospital hesitation to grant patient access to data, lack of bidirectional data exchange, confusion around the process of implementing APIs, and potentially prohibitive fee structures.”

Some of the most common challenges include:

  • Data security – Providers are responsible for the security of patient data, and the absence of security measures or compliance checks can lead to vulnerabilities. 
  • Data complexity – The healthcare system is huge and complex with patient data spread across several databases. A longitudinal health record of patients is necessary to ensure proper care delivery.
  • Data authority – Sometimes, a single patient may have two different medical records citing opposite or different medical conditions. This can be frustrating as physicians will be unable to determine which one is more accurate or updated. 

Looking ahead

Seamless bi-directional data interoperability is what everyone is working on. Once we figure out a way to navigate APIs in healthcare, hospitals, clinics, and facilities will discover more use cases to leverage the value of APIs. Those who have realized its potential are already leveraging tools for designing, testing, and monitoring APIs for seamless integration and interoperability across the ecosystem.

API is the backbone that is necessary to create efficient ecosystems that can support seamless data capture and exchange for an integrated value chain. If the data is clear and accurate, stakeholders will be able to connect the dots more efficiently. 

Trust Trigent for a successful API implementation

Trigent with its domain knowledge and technology expertise helps stakeholders across the healthcare continuum drive innovation and scale to meet enterprise requirements. We offer tools and solutions for the effective implementation of APIs and help you monitor them throughout the API cycle. 

Our integration solutions have been helping healthcare providers and healthcare-related professionals leverage patient data successfully for better health management. We can help you too. 

Call us today to book a consultation. Our technology experts would be happy to help. 

Reference

  1. https://www.pharmiweb.com/press-release/2021-04-27/healthcare-application-programming-interfaces-api-_finalized-market-set-to-register-healthy-cagr-du
  2. https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS47534521
  3. https://www.changehealthcare.com/insights/state-of-healthcare-APIs

Transforming Patient Care with EHR Integration

The one term that you get to hear very often in healthcare settings is Electronic Health Record (EHR), a digital version of a patient’s report. Created in real-time, EHR makes patient information easily accessible to authorized users in a secure manner. For efficient use and management of EHRs, healthcare organizations are now relying on EHR integration. 

Given the rigors and stress associated with healthcare, the need for automation solutions is increasing. There are several administrative tasks such as processing billing requests and appointment scheduling too other than delivering care to patients. The paperwork piles up over a period of time leaving healthcare professionals struggling with heaps of unstructured data. The need for an integrated healthcare information system is constantly being felt to bring structure and efficiency to the managed care continuum. This is where EHR comes into play. 

EHR integration helps address multiple care concerns in one go and allows patients to receive care from convenient healthcare organizations and services. Such is its demand that the global electronic health records market now stands at USD 26.8 billion1 in 2020 and is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 3.7% from 2021 to 2028.

Even those organizations wanting to implement a direct-to-consumer telehealth solution are now looking for ways to have a successful EHR integration. Modern patients now place equal emphasis on convenience as they do on quality and cost. In this modern age of consumerism, the focus is now on delivering complete care to patients while streamlining workflows. The pandemic has also given telehealth a solid boost and many view it as a valuable means for seeking healthcare. 

All in all, there’s a lot happening on the healthcare front and the one thing that will greatly alleviate the pressure on healthcare systems is EHR integration.

The many benefits of EHR

Those in healthcare would agree documentation offers enormous scope for efficiency. EHR enables healthcare organizations to maintain structured data while keeping a tab on the ‘who, what, when, where, and how’ aspects of clinical data. It offers several benefits some of which include:

  • It minimizes workload and helps provide integrated patient care
  • It provides integrated data that is easily accessible to authorized users 
  • It minimizes errors and facilitates better management of all records
  • It can even recommend medication based on past records and insights collected from multiple sources
  • It ensures quick and efficient electronic data exchange that allows better communication and leads to more fruitful interactions 
  • It reduces waiting times by providing patients access to integrated healthcare online
  • It improves collaboration between different stakeholders while ensuring better patient engagement

You may choose appropriate tools to integrate data from local or other data sources within a private cloud or local network to ensure successful EHR integration. There are other cloud-based solutions as well that you may want to consider. These are integration platforms as a service (iPaaS) that integrate data from diverse sources including web-based streaming data sources and standard databases offering an efficient, cost-effective means to EHR integration.

There are proprietary tools too that are often customized to be used for specific business purposes and are usually stable and reliable. Those who wish to have complete control on their data in-house but do not want to use proprietary and expensive enterprise integrated healthcare solutions, often opt for open-source tools.

EHR integration challenges

Now that we know the benefits of EHR integration and ways to achieve it, you will still need to cross the many hurdles that could stand in your way. It is important to figure out strategies to overcome the challenges and ensure your EHR integration actually delivers value.

Let’s delve deeper to understand the important ones.

Interoperability – While attaining it may seem like a herculean task, it remains a top area for improvement considering that organizations experience interoperability-related challenges at multiple levels. The number of connected devices continues to grow necessitating data security measures for a satisfactory user experience. While compiling and integrating data, HIPAA compliance needs to be factored in regardless of the diversity of data and data sizes. Data standardization is therefore necessary or else you will continue to struggle with the different data silos that come with interoperability challenges. There has to be a collaboration between external and internal parties such as quote providers and EHR vendors like Epic, Allscripts, and Cerner where they agree upon a common set of standards to address these challenges.

Data security – Data sharing can often be a cause of concern as it may lead to a breach in data security. Organizations are now leveraging cloud computing to manage data silos and ensure strict governance pertaining to data security. Access to specific data is provided for specific durations while being HIPAA compliant at all times.

HL7 integration – IT teams often struggle to keep pace with healthcare professionals who are usually too tied up to work in collaboration. This can delay HL7 integration. IT groups use the HL7 interface to process data in an easy-to-interpret format. But due to delays and gaps in coordination and collaboration, assembling the critical interfaces as per the HL7 standards becomes extremely challenging. Poor HL7 integration semantics can cause distorted data and migrating to a new EHR may result in the loss of some amount of previous data such as the medical history of patients.

Get ready for some groundwork

Although EHR integration does get complicated at times, there are simple and effective ways to overcome the challenges. We have new technologies to help us improve clinician experiences. You need to analyze your objectives, ensure timelines, and review the current technological state of your organization. You also need to document the current state and identify the gaps before you set out on your EHR integration journey.

Data documentation and gap analysis are in fact crucial milestones you need to touch on to make any further progress on this road. You must evaluate data architecture and assess workflows to devise a new data delivery design. You must also define testing phases to authenticate composite and designed workflows before the actual go-live.

It’s always a good idea to involve the teams that are going to use the EHR. How one professional uses it can be completely different than how others use it and can have an impact on their work too. Merely changing the system is of no use unless all users align to the changes and know how to comply with the correct and standard workflow.

Last but not the least, make sure you have technical support every step of the way. The technology landscape is evolving so rapidly that some technologies and use cases are maturing rather quickly. Onsite EHR go-live support is a great way of staying abreast of new technologies and ensuring a successful EHR integration.

Telehealth integration

As per a recent survey, 86% of doctors said the rise of telehealth increased their interoperability and integration challenges while more than 30% of doctors think the lack of integration with the EHR is an important reason why they may abandon telehealth after the pandemic. Microsoft announced its alliance with Epic Systems not long ago to help users with an integrated Teams experience within EHR clinical workflows. Considering that the Forrester survey findings have also pointed towards poor integration between virtual visit solutions and EHR workflows as a major deterrent, the said partnership aims to hopefully iron out issues and add value.

As the demand for telehealth continues, it makes sense to integrate it into the EHR system to optimize clinical workflows. The more recent telehealth solutions can be easily integrated into common EHR systems to ensure quality care and enhance interoperability. The merging of these capabilities is enabling organizations to provide patient care through a single workflow.

An integrated telehealth solution makes the whole experience akin to an actual visit to the clinic. It helps patients as well as care providers and reduces the clinician burden. It eases documentation for healthcare providers while saving patients a considerable amount of travel time.

David West, MD, medical director of health informatics at Nemours Children’s Health System confirms, “It’s opened up a great opportunity to be more consumer-centric, to understand the kind of inconvenience and difficulty that even coming to the clinic sometimes brings to families.”

Improve care delivery with Trigent

At Trigent, we hope to create a connected ecosystem for you where patients, caregivers, and healthcare providers can rely on electronic health records for better care coordination. Our domain expertise allows us to work closely with healthcare stakeholders to alleviate interoperability issues, reduce clinician burden, and improve efficiencies.

EHR integration is an important decision and our team of experts would be more than happy to help you create the roadmap for its success and deliver care in more meaningful ways.

Call us today to book a consultation.

References

  1. https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/electronic-health-records-ehr-market

FHIR – The Winning Edge for Successful Patient Engagement

The emergence of new technologies has brought along opportunities as well as challenges. Their proliferation into the world of healthcare has left professionals grappling with changing regulations, interoperability issues, and loads and loads of inconsistent, unstructured data.

We are up for a significant shift, and Gartner expects 35% of healthcare delivery organizations to have shifted workflows outside the EHR to pursue better efficiency, experience, and outcomes by 2023. We need ways to weave patient data into the healthcare fabric seamlessly. The one issue that we continue to experience repeatedly is interoperability with a sea of wearable devices, further adding to the chaos.

Even bigger organizations are constantly updating their technology landscape to keep up with changing times and demands. Lyniate, the enterprise known for its leading interoperability solutions, recently announced the acquisition of Datica Integrate and the launch of its new cloud-hosted fully managed data integration solution, Lyniate Envoy.

Erkan Akyuz, chief executive officer at Lyniate elaborating on the acquisition, says, “Our acquisition of Datica Integrate extends our customers’ ability to effortlessly connect and aggregate the data from multiple systems of record through FHIR. This is critical because as regulatory compliance continues to drive global industry trends, healthcare organizations will need adaptive integration support that will complement standards from HL7.”

Health stakeholders are now pinning their hopes on Fast Health Interoperability Resources (FHIR) to tide over interoperability and data-sharing challenges. FHIR serves as the bridge to patient information, claims, medical records, and all such things required regularly to make accurate clinical choices and deliver quality care.

FHIR works incredibly well for clinicians and patients and has their back with seamless, on-demand information exchange. In a day and age when we want data to communicate and converse with each other – be it from hospitals, clinics, patient portals, databases, and insurance plans – some kind of standardization is necessary to establish a solid ground for dialogue and exchange. FHIR is this ground that nurtures best practice standards and raises the bar for patient engagement.

So let’s look at its role critically and understand why it holds the key to patient engagement and much more.

FHIR is omnipresent

Just about everyone agrees on the tangible benefits FHIR offers to the world of healthcare. Everyone from healthcare vendors to federal organizations that need to share and exchange clinical information regularly relies on it. FHIR enables a cohesive healthcare customer experience by helping them provide consistent interoperability and patient-focused, data-driven care.

FHIR removes the gaps in an information exchange system and uses standardized APIs instead of creating plug-and-play applications. These applications can be easily plugged into any EHR to allow users to access information without sifting through large data volumes. This applies to accessing concrete details too, be it about a patient or a treatment.

FHIR also helps patients connect with healthcare service providers without making them go through a bunch of portals. In 2020, the global wearable medical devices market was worth USD 16.6 billion, continuing to grow in the coming years. A CAGR of 26.8% from 2021 to 2028 highlights the increasing focus on fitness and a need to monitor health and lifestyle habits at all times.

Expectations from FHIR integration will continue to rise with the growing demand for seamless data transfer. FHIR will enable users to obtain data from health apps and devices to facilitate analytics and preventive care. . FHIR plays a significant role in providing a comprehensive picture of a patient’s health that goes a long way in creating better care management programs. Since patients can also access this information, it ensures transparency and trust.

Technology advancements with FHIR

Small snippets of data or ‘resources’ that can be built on top of normalized data types represent clinical domains such as treatments, medications, diagnoses, etc., within EHRs. Health Level 7, the organization that develops standards in healthcare, has developed FHIR as a draft data standard.
As an HL7 standard, FHIR also simplifies healthcare information exchange across the ecosystem, paving the path for quick data access and interoperability. API-powered FHIR integration is just what we need to redefine patient experience and enable better collaboration across stakeholders.

It is beneficial for app developers too. Although FHIR cannot directly provide the necessary aspects required to write apps for EHRs, it helps them translate clinical data into components used in the apps. FHIR brings several benefits such as scalability, performance, usability, and data fidelity to developers to create FHIR apps that can be easily connected to any FHIR-enabled EHR or clinical solution.

As per insights from a recent study, only 24% of healthcare companies use application programming interfaces (APIs) to scale, yet FHIR APIs are expected to become widespread by 2024.

Value-based care

As healthcare providers continue to put in more efforts to provide value-based care, the fast-evolving government regulations, consumer demand, and competition demand a high level of interoperability among all stakeholders. FHIR provides the means not just to minimize errors but also reduces data silos and possibilities for fraud.

FHIR helps address gaps in care and information and keeps a tab on patient transitions as they move on from one healthcare provider to another. In times of health emergencies, this information can save lives.

Better collaboration between providers and payers

Patients depend on both as part of their health maintenance regime. FHIR standardization eases friction between the two in the preauthorization process itself, which has often been a pain point for all concerned. Thanks to a common-standard API, medical data can be obtained from the medical record software after raising a preauthorization request. Authorizations today occur in near real-time transcending beyond traditional clinical limitations.

Red flags to enable preventive care

As collaborative care becomes the norm, patients can now take the necessary preventive measures to avert an illness. As per a study published in The Lancet Digital Health journal, data from 47,000 Fitbit users in 5 U.S. states helped them predict and accelerate response to flu outbreaks. It goes on to demonstrate how good interoperability can be for everyone. It triggers a chain of reactions, all contributing towards health and better care.

An older person, for instance, getting early signs of flu can be at a greater risk. A physician or a care manager would prescribe anti-flu medications on being alerted about the symptoms. On the other hand, the patient may want to plan and reschedule things; for, e.g., he can avoid meeting an old friend or visiting grandkids. This is just a small demonstration of how interoperability facilitates preventive care in the connected world.

FHIR is the building block every healthcare organization needs today. FHIR implementation is fast, and the best integration engines allow developers to build a simple interface in just a single day. However, what is challenging is to ensure patient privacy at all times so that there are no breaches or violations. The industry needs to collaborate and work together to get the most out of FHIR integration.

Give your patients the FHIR edge with Trigent

Help your patients get smart about healthcare choices. With years of experience in the healthcare sector, we can help you improve patient care across all your applications. Our technology experts will automate and optimize the flow of information within your system with successful FHIR adoption.

Allow us to help you build care pathways with data and interoperability. Call us today to book a consultation.

Choose the Cloud-based LIMS that’s best for you – Here’s how!

We’ve been constantly striving to move towards automated, paperless processes in laboratories. Greater laboratory efficiency has always been a major motivator for doing so. The transition of course requires the right IT support, hardware, and a solid management system such as the laboratory information management system (LIMS).

Benefits of cloud-based LIMS software

Today, laboratories rely on different tools to manage the variety, velocity, and volume of data. High throughput technologies that are being used today increase the complexity and quantity of data that needs to be processed on a daily basis. Besides, organizations operate globally and interact with laboratories around the world leading to a constant flow of data beyond geographies and locations. LIMS helps organizations tide over the many challenges by helping them automate business processes, facilitate data capture, and streamline workflows.

The LIMS market globally is expected to touch $1.7B by 2025 from $1B in 2020 considering a CAGR of 12.1% thanks to technological advancements and the growing adoption of cloud-based LIMS.

R&D partnerships are increasing rapidly too, necessitating a perfect solution that ensures end-to-end integration of the lab across functions. It is evident LIMS is critical for the survival and success of laboratories but that does not mean you would simply want to buy it off the shelf without even evaluating your needs.

The right LIMS application will improve internal competencies and offer a sustainable competitive edge in no time. But selecting the right LIMS application is crucial and an earnest review of the needs of process owners is necessary from a LIMS perspective.

Many questions come to mind when choosing the best LIMS. On-premise or cloud, which parameters to consider while selecting LIMS, would there be challenges in implementation and adoption – the questions can be endless. As the need for operational efficiency, decreased cost, flexibility, and security continue to rise, modern laboratories are now in the favor of having cloud-based LIMS.

It’s time we delved deeper into LIMS to understand what it’s all about and why a cloud-based LIMS may be the best match for your laboratory.

How does a good Laboratory Information Management System help you?

The primary role of LIMS is to remove blocks that stand in the way of attaining operational efficiency. A modern LIMS facilitates workflow automation and management, enables data analysis, and supports regulatory compliance. It also plays a big role in facilitating audit trails and integrates with instruments, devices, and systems. But in order to ensure that the LIMS plays its part perfectly well within your lab environment, it needs to be implemented, integrated, and validated properly. You need to also plan for its maintenance and upgrade early on.

Things to remember while choosing LIMS

A thorough business process analysis (BPA) can maximize the value of LIMS. The focus of selection should not be to merely implement a system that can speed up existing work processes but to have one that is designed to optimize workflows. Laboratory stakeholders need to have a series of discussions and process walk-throughs to create a Requirements Matrix to choose the right LIMS and ensure a successful implementation. You need to determine its place in the laboratory systems architecture roadmap especially if the implementation is going to be followed by integration with a large number of instruments and systems and if it’s going to be deployed at multiple sites. You need to have a strategic vision to foresee risks and the possible strategies you may want to consider for mitigating them.

Is Cloud the future?

Most would think so.

Modern enterprises do believe the cloud is a huge step forward and is being touted as the next big thing. The latest LIMS comes with multiple hosting options but the one that you should consider should align well with your business goals and the standards established by IT. While many are still content with on-premise deployment, there is a growing demand for cloud-hosted fully managed deployment (SaaS).

While the enterprise deployment usually involves installing the LIMS software on the customers’ server and data is also maintained on their servers guarded by a corporate-wide firewall for optimal security, the SaaS model has several users operating on a single instance of the software and database. This kind of coexistence is usually referred to as a multi-tenant mode though you have the option of choosing a single-tenant mode also if security is your primary concern. You are accordingly provided dedicated infrastructure but at a slightly higher cost.

There are multiple advantages to using cloud-based LIMS. Here are some of the top ones that make it so popular:

  • It’s cost-effective- You have the PAYG option where you pay as you go only for what you need
  • It reduces maintenance costs – You save a lot due to the absence of license fee, in-house servers, dedicated resources, and costs associated with hardware and software maintenance
  • Minimizes dependence on dedicated IT resources – Vendor provides the necessary infrastructure and support thereby ensuring that you are able to manage with minimal resources
  • Easy to scale – Fast and flexible scalability allows you to expand as per the quantity of data and changing business needs
  • Enables backup and disaster recovery – No up-front investment is required to protect data as the backup and recovery solutions take care of it irrespective of the size of your data and business
  • Greater efficiency – The vendor takes full responsibility for its smooth functioning and communicates in advance when a downtime is scheduled
  • Quick deployment – Deployment time is much lesser as the application is up and running immediately since it is deployed by the vendor in the cloud
  • Automated updates – Quick and automatic updates to update infrastructure without hassle save time and effort

Since there are multiple vendors and diverse hosting options, it may be difficult to choose between on-premise and cloud-based LIMS on the basis of the total cost of ownership. A thorough assessment of your business needs would therefore be a good idea to ensure you are on the right track. While doing so, make sure that your LIMS system is suitably equipped to integrate with your instruments and other related systems.

Validating LIMS

You also need to validate the system following its implementation to ensure that it is working just the way it is supposed to. Regulatory agencies require validation to ensure data accuracy and integrity in the systems. From a regulatory as well as product quality perspective, it is important to maintain a detailed audit trail of the data.

Every time you make changes to the system you need to validate it again. Commonly referred to as Computer System Validation (CSV), this form of validation is necessary when you configure a new system or modify it with upgrades, patches, extensions, etc. A risk-based assessment is usually recommended to determine test cases along with the level of testing required.

As with everything else, precise validation too is possible only when you review your requirements critically prior to validation. Precise validation testing will ensure that the systems work perfectly well over the full software development lifecycle. Also, pay attention to streamlining the paperwork as precision is required in documentation too in order to fulfill regulatory compliance.

Planning is the key to cloud-based LIMS adoption

While customization is a good thing it is often accompanied by complexities and increased cost of maintenance. There will be several integrations too and the need for extensions and enhancements will continue to grow as the nature of your business evolves. It is therefore important to keep scalability and maintenance factors in mind while planning for your LIMS system.

Once you are able to implement LIMS effectively, you need to ensure that your people use it. There has to be proper communication and collaboration for effective adoption to take place. Frequent communication with stakeholders often leads to active participation and successful adoption. An extensive LIMS training program is also recommended so that everyone gets acquainted with the system quickly and learns to use its myriad features. Only then will they be able to use it consistently and enable the new LIMS to add business value to your laboratory.

Choose the right cloud-based LIMS solutions with Trigent

Trigent has been helping laboratories manage growing business challenges with cloud-based LIMS. Our LIMS solutions help you deal with the growing volumes of data effortlessly. We can implement and validate a LIMS for you and ensure that it is cost-effective and efficient.

Moving to the cloud is an important decision and we can help you with everything you need with a highly systematic approach to laboratory information management.

Allow us to help you. Call us today for a consultation.

Improve Patient Experience with Salesforce Health Cloud

The modern healthcare systems are undergoing a period of transition migrating from reactive to proactive models. Just like other sectors, the healthcare sector has also become equally demanding and patients are no longer hesitating to switch to better healthcare systems if their expectations are not met.

As the leading CRM solution in the world, Salesforce offers cloud solutions for several industries including healthcare to manage diverse needs. It’s patient management system Salesforce Health Cloud has seen a huge demand and healthcare adoption has grown by about 35% since 2018. Salesforce helps organizations drive cost efficiencies, develop intelligent enterprises, manage customer relationships, and build resilient business models.

It helps healthcare organizations address challenges pertaining to patient experience too. In fact, 69% of respondents who participated in a survey conducted by the Baltimore-based firm Sage Growth Partners (SGP) have cited improving healthcare consumer experience as their first or second top strategic priority.

A recent research report confirms two-thirds of patients are likely to switch to a better health system if their expectations are not met while organizations that are willing to improve the patient experience have the potential to increase their revenues by 5% to 10% pre-COVID levels in just 12 months. The good part is that they are now more eager than ever to embrace technology with 74% of patients now likely to use online chat or texting for providing check-in information before an appointment.

Especially since patients experience disjointed services as stakeholders continue to use data from multiple sources, Salesforce provides a common platform to integrate the experience at various junctures of their healthcare journey. The focus is now on providing value-based holistic care to ensure a satisfactory patient experience.

While empowering with technologies and solutions, Salesforce is now helping the healthcare industry evolve to improve patient satisfaction and deliver high-quality patient care.

Salesforce health cloud, patient experience and the evolving healthcare landscape

McKinsey & Company iterates, “Companies that can learn to understand, guide, and engage healthcare consumers, while inspiring their loyalty, have a significant opportunity to change the healthcare landscape.

Consumers of healthcare know what they want and now actively participate in the decision-making process. It’s time you moved beyond patient engagement and focus on giving them better experiences to ensure strong clinical outcomes. Just like banking, the modern healthcare system too needs to have table stake capabilities that can positively transform patient experiences.

Patients today want personalization and convenience and the agility that comes with Salesforce Health Cloud. Gartner predicts 70% of customer interactions will involve emerging technologies such as machine learning applications, chatbots, and mobile messaging by 2022.

It all boils down to how attentive you are to the elderly? How easily are they able to access their health records?

While some consumers may undermine the importance of maintaining electronic health records, others may not even have access to a computer or fast Internet speed.

And that’s not all; there are issues that plague healthcare workers too. They go through frequent burnouts and find themselves struggling on several fronts to be able to deliver the kind of patient experience patients rightfully deserve.

What we need to understand is that customer service is not just a department but an approach that needs to be followed by the entire organization at all times. Salesforce Health Cloud is equipped to handle all these challenges and more. It offers opportunities to healthcare organizations to embark on an exciting future of care delivery providing new avenues for improving patient experience.

So let’s look at the top benefits.

Centralized data on health cloud

With a centralized data storage space, Salesforce Health Cloud enables the monitoring of medical services using data analytics tools.

Says Don Scheibenreif, Distinguished Vice President Analyst, Gartner, “Monitoring event streams helps organizations stay aware of the current context and thereby make more intelligent decisions. More intelligent decisions translate into better customer service and greater success for the business.”

Healthcare organizations that rely on research and clinical practices can hugely benefit from data centralization be it for accessing patient records or for compiling statistical data. Whatever they need they can access from their mobile phones or other devices in real-time. As the focus shifts from merely maintaining records to building meaningful relationships, Health Cloud helps you put patients at the core of the ecosystem.

Better outcomes with health literacy

Patients can now be treated speedily since services can be delivered almost immediately without wasting too much time on observing protocols. Patients can even avoid hospitalization by educating themselves about their condition, diagnosis, symptoms, patterns, and treatments. They can contact healthcare professionals as needed and access the right care plans to get on the track to recovery.

Salesforce Health Cloud offers a detailed view of the patient journey through individual patient profiles that combine data from electronic health records (EHR) as well as third-party data from medical devices. This helps in assessing patient condition, reviewing medications, and managing appointments with ease.

Personalization and remote care

Care providers can find complete data in one place to make quick decisions. Salesforce has been extensively using Artificial Intelligence tools to facilitate fast decision-making and empower them to take a proactive approach towards healthcare. It enables patient segmentation to manage patient populations and gives you the ability to personalize care and schedule regular check-ins via messages.

Salesforce not only helps curtail costs but also reduces patient risks. As Tuan Phan, founder of cybersecurity company Zero Friction and a member of the ISACA Emerging Trends Working Group explains, “Metadata may indicate that the patient’s condition is deteriorating, allowing medical professionals to take action earlier, in turn driving lower risk to the patient and lower costs to the hospital.”

Empowerment through collaboration

Care teams can connect and collaborate through Salesforce Health Cloud. Everything from case management and tracking to care plan management and follow-ups is taken care of. The best part is you can integrate Health Cloud with legacy tools, operating procedures, and the existing software infrastructure.

With teamwork solutions, workforce administration tools, advanced technologies, and much more, it aids seamless collaboration between care teams and patients. In a day and age where 84% of consumers under 40 wish to engage with technologically advanced and electronically communicative medical organizations, Salesforce is uniquely positioned to close the gap between interactions and outcomes.

Salesforce Health Cloud offers countless applications to address the growing needs of consumers as well as health organizations. These applications can help you boost revenue, lower costs, enhance care coordination and access, drive engagement, and improve outcomes and experience.

Transform patient experience with Trigent

Trust Trigent to enable care coordination of patients in a digital world where connected healthcare continues to transform patient care. At Trigent, we help you get your Salesforce implementations right the very first time thanks to our decades of experience. Our team of Salesforce specialists will help you leverage Health Cloud perfectly to overcome barriers and improve the overall patient experience.

Count on us for everything from Salesforce implementation to seamless integration. Call us today for a business consultation.

Transitioning to Telehealth

Telehealth opened the doors to remote care and cure at a time when visiting clinics for consultations became difficult. From just 11% in 2019 to 46% of consumers1 choosing telehealth in 2020, healthcare providers began seeing 50 to 175 times the number of patients than they did in pre-pandemic times. Up to $250 billion of current US healthcare spend attributed to telehealth as healthcare providers continue to scale their offerings.

According to Mckinsey, 74% of survey respondents expressed high satisfaction with their telehealth experience.

With technology at its helm, telehealth is now getting as good as in-person visits, if not better. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has facilitated quick diagnosis and treatments with deeper insights and ensures that routine care is streamlined for better health. Data aggregation also has been helping healthcare providers as well as individuals predict patient behavior and detect patterns.

Besides, seniors tend to require at least twice the number of healthcare services as compared to younger demographics. Telehealth addresses all their concerns effectively to provide continued care in these rather difficult times. As per research by Deloitte and ATA (American Telemedicine Association)2, a significant portion of care, prevention, and well-being settings are expected to go virtual by 2040.

We are fast moving towards technological advances, interoperable data, and virtual healthcare systems that ensure continuity, connectivity, coordination, and care continuum. As Laura Hoffman, a senior research fellow at Yale Law School’s Solomon Center for Health Law and Policy puts it, “It’s not just technology. How does this transform the patient-provider relationship? What does it mean to have that relationship in terms of doing it virtually instead of it being in person? We are at a very dynamic time.”

Clearly, there’s a lot that still needs to be done on the telehealth front to make it viable for patients as well as providers and tap into its full potential.

Measures to improve telehealth

As we move into the future, we need concerted efforts by healthcare stakeholders along with the adoption of advanced technologies, redesigning of care models, and proper infrastructure to leverage the full potential of telehealth. After all, it goes way beyond the scope of virtual care to include different aspects such as chronic disease management, doctor visits, surgical support, and remote patient monitoring.

Here’s what we can do to make it better and more dependable.

Define a clear roadmap

A data-driven approach is what is currently needed to enable care journeys digitally. Rich clinical data will empower not just clinicians but also patients so that everyone is on the same page. For instance, a patient with a complex medical condition will significantly benefit if all the relevant observations are updated into the clinical record by different providers and made available in readily sharable formats to decide further course of treatment.

You need to augment your reach and expand your capabilities to move the needle in essential areas. You need to ask questions – Would customized online education facilitate awareness and patient satisfaction? Would remote monitoring increase patient engagement? Would increasing capacity help increase e-visits too? What security measures need to be implemented to address privacy concerns?

Both providers and payers need to work on building flexible provider networks to shorten wait times. Virtual health needs to penetrate the ‘brick and mortar’ healthcare system and should be embedded in provider workflows. Hospitals are now using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to guide patients to the right care avenues.

Virtualize home care

This requires access to remote monitoring services so that specific clinical conditions can be monitored. For example, those with diabetes need continuous glucose monitoring, while those with cardiovascular conditions require regular monitoring of blood pressure and heartbeats.

An integrated approach and relevant patient engagement tools are required to include such devices into the care plans and encourage patients to play an active role in ensuring care. Besides, other monitoring systems and diagnostic kits such as home pulse oximeters, blood pressure machines, etc., also need to be factored in while ensuring a clear view for assessment.

Evaluate your IT infrastructure

User experience is paramount when it comes to the success of any telehealth initiative. Cloud-hosted platforms are now being increasingly used to support the virtual telehealth ecosystem. You need to also figure out which providers and healthcare partners need to be added to the delivery platform to ensure better collaboration among care providers.

Seamless data and communication flow among patients, cardiologists, therapists, etc., through video/ audio conferencing, messaging, and other forms of internet-based and mobile communications will then be possible.

You will also have to factor in what equipment you would require for communication as well as treatment. Laptops, speakers, Internet browsers, webcams are just a few of the many things you will need. Additionally, you will have to figure out the means to capture data from connected devices like blood glucose meters and blood pressure monitors too. Potential vulnerabilities in medical devices need to be addressed, along with risks associated with the deployment of third-party services.

Advanced technologies can help you tide over most challenges but having a clear perspective on things you need helps.

Regulatory barriers and their impact

The federal government did make temporary policy changes to make telehealth easily accessible during the pandemic. But we need to look beyond the pandemic, and efforts must be made to continue easing barriers to reimbursement.

Explains Dr. Diane Rittenhouse, a senior fellow at Mathematica, “People were seeing patients in the virtual space before they had the reforms to payment to get paid for it. They were doing it essentially for free. Now, payment reforms have caught up – but it’s unclear how long they’ll remain in place.”
She adds, “We’re asking for a lot of change in primary care over the last couple of decades. It’s good, and it comes from a good place, but these practices are being asked to add more team members, to work under different conditions, to adopt electronic health records, [and] to develop new population-based quality-measuring systems and reporting systems.”

The number of people availing virtual consultations has been significant primarily because they didn’t have to drive down to the facility physically. While The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has been highly supportive in facilitating telehealth, these rules should continue to relax to make remote care accessible to one and all irrespective of geographical barriers.

The Department of Health and Human Services(HHS) has even waived off penalties for HIPAA violations against healthcare providers that used conventional communications platforms such as Skype and Zoom to enable virtual care. But these breaches can have severe implications under normal circumstances, and care needs to be taken to ensure patient data remains private and secure at all times.

Broadband has to be accessible and affordable too, without which it would be impossible to leverage the full benefits of telehealth. Imagine you are deep into a call, and the connection goes off just like that, in a second. Also, when physicians are examining patients’ physical symptoms closely, it can be a futile exercise if the video call lacks the required clarity. Not everyone is tech-savvy, and connectivity issues can add to the frustration.

The potential and benefits of telehealth

Telehealth has immense potential and can improve outcomes significantly if efforts are made to expand access to care. Physicians are already reporting burnout as work stress continues. Telehealth programs, when implemented correctly, can bridge the gaps in healthcare now and forever for all. Not to forget the immense cost savings it can lead to.

Transition to telehealth with Trigent

Trigent can help your healthcare facility transform into an agile, robust network of digitally connected distributed entities to open doors to new and exciting opportunities in telehealth. Our domain knowledge and technology expertise help us work closely with stakeholders to meet the many challenges of care delivery in the telehealth sector.

We offer solutions and services to achieve EHR Interoperability and manage virtual consultations effectively. Call us today to book a business consultation.

References

  1. https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/McKinsey/Industries/
  2. https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/insights/industry/health-care/future-of-virtual-health.html

Steps to Achieve EHR/EMR Interoperability to Put Patient at the Center of Healthcare

The US healthcare system has been battling quite a few challenges as they continue to track outbreaks, and stay abreast of the latest developments on vaccines and the spread of the disease. But what became glaringly evident during the pandemic was the lack of EHR/EMR interoperability that made sifting through patient information and providing seamless quality care pretty difficult. Although the federal government pumped in billions of dollars to accelerate the adoption of electronic health records, we are still far away from rising to the information challenges clinicians are facing on a day-to-day basis.

A classic case in point – California! It went through public health crises in 2020 as the state with the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases, pinning its hopes on a robust health data exchange. As Claudia Williams, CEO of Manifest MedEx (MX) points out, “Smaller practices don’t know what kind of hospital care the patient received, they don’t know what drugs the patient is on, and they don’t have the tools to conduct that level of risk stratification.”

The Department of Health and Humans Services (HHS) recently published its 2020-2025 Federal Health IT Strategic Plan based on recommendations from more than 25 federal organizations.

Quality of data, user interfaces, and usability concerns, along with the inability of data to adequately support discovery and interoperability among systems – all underline the need to have better EHR/EMR interoperability to put patients at the heart of healthcare.

It’s time we dive deeper into the challenges stakeholders are facing as they proceed towards achieving EHR/EMR interoperability and how we can work towards making it a reality.

EHR and EMR: The fundamental difference

An electronic health record (EHR) is an electronic version of a patient’s medical history that includes test results, present illness and its history, progress notes, immunization, medications, etc. Often confused with an electronic medical record (EMR), an EHR is much broader in scope and offers a comprehensive view of the patient’s health. An EMR also contains medical history along with a treatment plan but it’s often pertaining to one practice and the details will therefore stay with that particular physician or provider and is never really shared when the patient moves on to another physician or provider.

The fact that EHR travels with the patient wherever they go, it gets shared with other physicians and providers helping them make informed decisions. EHR helps maintain continuity of medical care even when patients are moved to a different facility.

But in a complex healthcare environment, EHR integrations are not so easy. EHR solutions used by different medical facilities can differ in features, capabilities, workflows, and infrastructure requirements. Seamless sharing of information will therefore be possible only when we introduce interoperability into the system. This would require stakeholders to tide over the many challenges in attaining healthcare data interoperability.

The top ones include:

  • Absence of a unique patient identifier – Absolutely no or minimum standardization for identifying patients makes data exchange between EMR and EHR extremely tedious.
  • Lack of standardized data – With different standard formats for collating data, the information exchanged varies in format. This poses a barrier to analyzing, storing, and exchanging data seamlessly.
  • Slow FHIR adoption – The use of Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) is recommended since it describes data formats and APIs for health record exchange and integrates the best of HL7, v2, HL7v3, and CDA while leveraging the best of web service technologies. It provides agility, efficiency, and security to data exchange with perfect standardization of data. The adoption of FHIR application programming interfaces (APIs) has a long way to go before it touches the finish line. While FHIR apps do extract data, they lack the ability to write data back.
  • Data privacy and security issues – Healthcare compliances such as HIPAA can impose limitations on how stakeholders share and exchange data amongst each other and third-party vendors.
  • The relatively high cost of integration – Traditional models can be a tad out of reach of small and mid-sized organizations from a cost perspective.

Interoperability for patient-centric care

Interoperability allows patients to be informed all the time irrespective of which vendor they choose. It ensures:

  • Better patient health outcomes
  • Better quality of care
  • Lower healthcare costs
  • Tailored treatments based on individual history and preferences
  • Greater patient engagement
  • Reduced ambiguity
  • Data devoid of redundancies

Interoperability initiatives should be patient-centric and revolve around improving patient care. The chief objective should be to safely and securely exchange patient information across the healthcare ecosystem where interoperability serves as the linchpin.

As Dr. Farzad Mostashari, the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services iterates, “(the agency wants to ensure that) information follows the patient regardless of geographic, organizational, or vendor boundaries.”
A CHIME KLAS report suggests 67% (up from 28% in 2017) of providers admitted they often or nearly always had access to the needed patient records in 2020 while only 15% (up from 6% in 2017) believe data exchange has impacted patient care. The Cures Act and many other federal initiatives are now focused on improving patient care through data sharing. Significant progress has been noticed in data sharing across disparate EMRs.

The way to interoperability

There are certain milestones to touch on the road to attaining interoperability. Just like the banking sector where current systems are modified instead of being recreated, the EHR too will benefit from suitably modified systems wrapped in applications and added capabilities.

Here’s what we need to do:

  • Use a population health management system – This will make providers accountable for caring for populations with common health conditions. The system will use data from various sources including EHRs, EMRs, claims, monitoring devices, etc. to give a 360-degree view to providers while helping patients with regular alerts and messages.
  • Leverage the services of Health Information Exchange (HIE) – HIE connects healthcare organizations across the state to allow them to exchange patient data. So if a patient gets admitted into an emergency room, the HIE will access data from other care centers too so as to give an accurate clinical picture of the patient to providers and alert them when a patient checks in to some other facility.
  • Deploy health management apps designed for patients – These are typically expected to help patients aggregate their health data, get health status, track appointments, manage healthcare plans, etc.
  • Employ big data analytics systems – These systems are expected to review large amounts of data to compare the effectiveness of treatments, aid medical discovery, analyze shifts in patterns of diseases and response to diseases, safety issues pertaining to healthcare equipment, etc. They rely on artificial intelligence for automatic correction of data inconsistencies and other chores such as extracting data from images, free text, etc.
  • Integrate APIs in healthcare – APIs allow developers to build applications quickly and protect patient data from malware and other malicious threats. They save storage space and allow users to pinpoint the exact source of data and get precise data. APIs are thus playing a pivotal role in alleviating clinical burden helping third-party apps and programs analyze data and enhance clinical decisions. As an integral part of healthcare, they now lead the way for successful interoperability.

Tread on the road to interoperability with Trigent

It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle, but with Trigent by your side, you can surely adopt best practices to shift your focus and achieve EHR/EMR interoperability. No matter how far you are on the road to interoperability, we will take you there with the necessary solutions. A few workflow changes and technologies should get us started.

Allow us to tell you how the new interoperability standards can help your practice. Call us today.

Extract 40%+ efficiencies in Healthcare with Robotic Process Automation

The healthcare industry is facing the biggest challenges (and opportunities) in the prevailing situation. Traditional modes of delivery of care have been disrupted, coordinating patient care is driving the demand for sharing data across silos and technology is playing a vital role in enabling remote diagnostics, tracking treatment effectiveness, and monitoring patients while they recover at home. Conventional norms are being challenged. The changes however are accompanied by a different set of considerations that need to be addressed – Data privacy and Cybersecurity for instance. So how can all these be overcome?

Healthcare providers have to manage the massive amounts of patient data, triage the cases, optimize appointment scheduling and treatments and expedite billing & claims management. Apart from being HIPAA compliant, they also have to ensure error-free streamlining and execution of the tasks, which usually prove to be a gargantuan effort. However, these pain points can be overcome by automating the entire process.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) in the Healthcare Industry

The convergence of robotic process automation (RPA) with the healthcare industry has helped providers accelerate their digital transformation journey. AI-powered RPA has helped the industry deliver efficient services across the value chain – from patient experience to claims management and revenue cycle management to analytics.

CAQH in its eighth annual report stated that automating healthcare administrative transactions has reduced annual costs by $122 billion, $16.3 billion more can be saved through further automation. Gaining traction in the healthcare industry, RPA has enabled automation of routine and repetitive tasks, thereby freeing healthcare professionals to focus more on the much-needed human element — patient care.

How RPA enhances healthcare service

Implementing robotic process automation can channel more resources and optimize healthcare tasks that are of prime importance.

Improved patient support

One of the most important tasks rendered by healthcare organizations is providing ideal care according to each patient’s unique needs. With RPA implementation, healthcare providers have witnessed significant improvement in triage and the resulting patient-facing operations.

Robotic process automation simplifies and streamlines the entire procedure, right from patient data collection to insurance claims. Bots can manage patient appointments as per location, test results, and doctor availability. They can also assist patients with upcoming appointment notifications, medical tests, prescription pick-ups, and discharge guidelines.

Error-free and reduced repetitive work

In RPA, bots replace human involvement in repetitive tasks like patient onboarding, data extraction/migration, appointment/treatment scheduling, and claim management among others. This means work is done in a considerably less amount of time with no errors.

Automating healthcare processes can help the providers reduce critical errors and achieve 100% accuracy rates while providing patient care. Data collected from the patient can be processed as per diagnosis and location, matched with the relevant doctor. In case of the doctor’s unavailability, a bot will automatically reschedule and inform the patient of the change, avoiding confusion and hassle.

Reduced operational costs

By embracing RPA, healthcare organizations can reduce operating costs significantly, while leveraging a cost-effective workforce. Increased automation enhances process efficiency, allowing staff to spend less time on tedious manual tasks.

Traditional methods involved manual data entry, scheduling, record maintenance, and claims management, each of which involved a considerable number of people. Since every task was done manually, there could be errors and rework could come with a cost. RPA implementation standardizes the entire lifecycle, eliminates rework and corrections.

Reduced Data Breaches

Ensuring privacy and security of sensitive patient data is one of the top concerns for healthcare organizations. Using RPA ensures that private information can only be accessed by the appropriate staff. This role-based access minimizes data breach or improper use of data.

RPA allows healthcare providers to control data access and ensure that only the relevant staff can access private information when required. This control is critical since doctors, IT staff, and the claims departments need varying levels of access to classified patient data.

HIPAA and other regulatory compliances

Robotic process automation helps maintain compliance by securing medical data and ensuring all processes are in line with HIPAA and other regulatory bodies. Custom reports and detailed audit logs can also be maintained.

Healthcare providers may use different applications to store and access patient data. Securing such a vast amount of information can be complicated and prove to be challenging. With RPA, HIPAA compliance becomes easier to manage. Audit controls can also be easily implemented using process automation. Detailed audit histories can be set up automatically and any time there’s an internal or external audit, auditors can easily access the data.

Automation is here to stay. RPA is flexible to automate any procedure and is basically to help clear the clutter, thereby streamlining the entire process. With RPA around, even searching for a needle in a haystack will seem effortless.

The Trigent Advantage

With change happening at a rapid pace, the healthcare industry is transitioning to automation to offer better outcomes to patients. Be it migrating from a legacy system, updating a current workflow, or even on advisory, Trigent is your go-to partner for all your technology requirements. Our RPA experts will take care of the entire cycle from adaption to managing, while your healthcare providers do what they do best-providing optimal patient care.

Top 7 Trends That Will Drive Healthcare in 2021

2020 brought along challenges as well as opportunities for diverse sectors including healthcare. We’re now stepping into an era of digital transformation that will push the boundaries for healthcare in incredible ways with a profound impact.

As per the Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare’s 2020 Index, the US healthcare industry is missing out on billions of dollars in potential annual savings due to lack of adequate workflow automation to carry out common business transactions. Apart from the $122 billion that it has already saved through automation, it can save an additional $16.3 billion by fully adopting nine common transactions.

The CAQH said in a statement, “For example, each fully automated claims status inquiry costs $11.71 less than the same transaction conducted manually for the medical industry and $10.92 less for the dental industry. Similarly, every eligibility and benefit verification converted from manual to electronic saves the medical industry $8.64 and the dental industry $8.75. Considering the millions of times these transactions occur every day, the savings potential across the healthcare economy is significant.”

The healthcare sector is now more focused than ever on simplifying workflows and reducing the burden associated with administrative tasks while keeping automation at the helm of all its initiatives. We bring to the fore the top 7 trends in healthcare that iterate the role of automation in making patient-centered, outcome-based systems a priority.

  1. API-enabled EHRs to improve interoperability

Application Programming Interface (API) enabled EHRs means patients get better access to data and manage healthcare outside the healthcare facility using their smartphones or computers. API adoption enhances interoperability and patient data sharing between providers thereby reducing clinical burden, and facilitates better care coordination. When deployed correctly, next-gen APIs create secure and compliant integrations to provide actionable data and advanced care through multiple avenues and channels.

Ben Moscovitch, project director of Health Information Technology at Pew Charitable Trusts opines, “If standard APIs were broadly adopted in health care, patients could access and compile their data from multiple providers while clinicians could process complicated information and make care recommendations. APIs would also offer other benefits, such as facilitating the exchange of clinical data among health care providers.”

  1. Robotic process automation or RPA for scaling operational efficiency

The data collected from various internal and external sources such as insurance portals, third-party portals, ERPs, clinical applications, scheduling applications, etc. can be overwhelming, and streamlining the flow of information across all these channels can be a labor-intensive task. Robotic Process Automation provides the much-needed respite by extracting relevant information from multiple sources and automating routine tasks to reduce costs, minimize errors, and improve operational efficiency.

According to Gartner, 50% of healthcare providers in the U.S. will invest in RPA in the next 3 years as a means to optimize costs and healthcare resources giving further impetus to RPA adoption. Explains Dr. Anurag Gupta, research vice president at Gartner, “Cost optimization is a consistently recurring theme among healthcare providers. The money that RPA saves by not having to spend as much on an unreformed process translates into cash that is available for front-end clinical functions, which is especially important while healthcare organizations combat the COVID-19 crisis.”

  1. Telehealth for remote care

Telehealth has been instrumental in providing care virtually during the pandemic that made social distancing mandatory. In no time, everyone was convinced about its immense potential and is fast becoming a preferred form of medical care. As President of VirtualMed Staff, Jack Williams explains, “When patients feel their care is as good or better than a routine visit in person, all from the comfort of home, those same patients will no longer endure long wait times when it is avoidable.”

Using technologies such as streaming media and video conferencing, telehealth will allow patients to choose healthcare providers and services irrespective of their geographic location through digital telehealth platforms. It will eliminate patient no-shows, travel time, wait time, etc. ensuring better efficiency and revenue for medical practitioners. Telehealth is also playing a pivotal role in improving disaster emergency response services through advanced volunteer registration, biological surveillance, hospital bed availability tracking, patient record management, etc.

Telehealth will continue to play a big role in addressing the healthcare needs of patients as part of their long-term healthcare plan even after the pandemic is behind us. A hybrid healthcare model has emerged ever since the pandemic accelerated advances in remote managed care for those with chronic conditions and those who had COVID-19 symptoms but did not require hospitalization. What we can now expect is a combination of telehealth and in-person visits to manage everything from routine follow-ups to critical care.

  1. Cloud-based LIMS for continuous access to data

The global Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS) market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 14.1% from 2019 to touch $2.21 billion by 2026. What was earlier conceptualized as a system to record test samples and particulars about donor and patient samples has now evolved to join the league of next-gen healthcare solutions using cloud technology.

LIMS on the cloud can connect multiple stakeholders and give users complete control over sample tracking, processing, and delivering while attaining scalability in their business. Patients too can track their records and maintain personal health data easily. LIMS software can schedule appointments and follow-ups for healthcare specialists and time slots of lab equipment in a highly efficient manner.

The modern LIMS software can be leveraged effectively as an interface between lab equipment and other devices in real time to enable the import and export of data for better coordination.

  1. Salesforce health cloud for improved patient experience

Salesforce health cloud provides a complete view of patients through easy-to-decipher dashboards that collate data from different sources to unite healthcare provider siloes. Using this data, healthcare providers can map the entire patient journey understanding their relationships to specialists at different junctures of healthcare.

Data is collected from different sources such as EHRs, medical devices, wearable activity trackers, etc. to build a patient history that includes details such as medical history, current medical conditions, lab results, etc. Salesforce admins can incorporate the necessary security features to ensure security compliance and also provide an omnichannel experience to patients so as to allow them to reach out for care from an app or channel they are most comfortable with.

  1. Artificial intelligence and integrated wearable technology for better health management

Although AI has been around for years, it has now become ubiquitous and a game-changer from a clinical, operational, and financial point of view. With machine learning, AI can segregate data, so that healthcare providers understand patients and their condition better to make more informed decisions. Shared insights across a large patient population can help chart the treatment course for patients to ensure better outcomes in the future.

AI is now helping develop predictive models during the pandemic to track the virus and estimate the risk based on the spread of the disease. It is also playing a big role in genomics – the study of an individual’s genes – attaching findings to electronic medical records of patients to optimize clinical decision-making.

Also trending are wearables that allow individuals to record steps, heart rates, blood pressure, and overall exercise regime. The global wearable market is expected to increase in size at a CAGR of 15.9% from 2020 to 2027 from USD 32.63 billion in 2019.
With AI and machine learning in the picture, wearables will help transform clinical research and treatment protocols while ensuring better more positive outcomes in healthcare.

  1. A digital front door to offer personalized care

Social distancing brought along a new challenge for healthcare providers – ramping up their digital capabilities to stay connected with patients during their hour of need. The idea of having a digital front door thus became necessary which was expected to be simple to use but purpose-built.

Writes Bruce Orcutt is Vice President of Marketing at ABBYY – Patients need healthcare services that can meet them where they are: in their own homes. Utilizing video platforms, native apps, and personalized web portals, digital healthcare offerings support a healthcare system that is convenient, timely, and best meets the needs of a wide array of patients.

No matter where a provider is on their digital journey, it is important to have granular, accurate, and comprehensive data to widen the digital front door. Discovering and analyzing operational processes and identifying bottlenecks will be important steps to enhancing operational workflows, reducing patient wait times, and creating a seamless patient experience. Considering that a digital front door creates first impressions in the minds of patients when they approach a healthcare facility, many are now investing in mobile apps for their organizations to host patient portals, telehealth visits, and other chores.

Wrapping up

The healthcare industry is all set to attain new frontiers with transformative technologies at its helm. At Trigent, we help healthcare organizations deploy future-ready technologies to get a 360-degree view of their people, processes, and data. We believe connected healthcare is the key to improving patient engagement and delivering quality care.

Allow us to help you with integrated healthcare solutions that will drive the future. Book a consultation today to know more.

Cloud: a lifeline for the healthcare Industry

The healthcare industry has been steadily expanding, owing to a rising aging population and the growing trend of wellness centers. With a pandemic in the mix, however, the industry has been left burdened and unprepared. The silver lining here is that people have embraced telehealth services. With the onset of Covid 19, the number of users accessing e-healthcare services has catapulted. Doctors can now provide remote care to patients from the safety of their homes, making life easier for everybody involved.

Cloud has played a heroic role in these trying times. Even those that swear by traditional systems established regulations, processes, and operational methods, have had to make the mental, cultural, and ultimately, physical switch to the Cloud. Admittedly for them, the pros outweigh the cons.

Saving time, reducing costs, increasing efficiency

When Hunterdon Healthcare, a healthcare center in New Jersey, migrated to the Cloud, they saved $1.3 million in IT costs. With a Cloud-based system, tasks are simplified, making the turnaround quick and seamless. Processes are streamlined, thereby eliminating silos and enhancing resource utilization. Cloud-based technology brings with it a sense of ease and convenience, cutting down administrative and hardware costs in the process. In hospitals that use legacy systems, a lot of time and effort is lost on manual data collection and transfer, notwithstanding the additional costs invoked by human error. Cloud brings operational efficiency into play – giving patients better care and healthcare organizations a better bottom line. While there is an initial cost incurred to transform legacy systems into Cloud-based ones, in the long run, the cost of running the latter is much lower. Right now, as physicians, nurses, and other healthcare workers are (at best) experiencing exhaustion, Cloud-based systems are proving to be a necessary, life-saving investment.

Interoperability and collaboration

Interoperability between hospitals, diagnostic centers, clinics, dispensaries, pharmacies, etc., is perhaps the biggest advantage of Cloud. Different information technology systems can communicate with each other, making it easy to compile a complete and comprehensive patient history record – this helps physicians make informed decisions. Further, with Cloud, one can access patient data and other applications remotely – this drastically scales the reach of medicine, especially to rural areas. Research into Covid 19 has shown that individuals with pre-existing conditions and compromised immunity are more susceptible to the virus. When testing for Covid 19, access to one’s complete medical records helps doctors prioritize cases and provide care accordingly.

Real-time remote care

Transcending time, distance and other variables, cloud-enabled IT relays real-time information, which cuts down the time, cost and effort involved in physically going to a healthcare facility, waiting for an appointment, etc. Real-time e-diagnosis has been widely helpful amidst the pandemic, ensuring that people do not unnecessarily put themselves at risk by visiting hospitals for non-Covid-related medical issues. Instead, complying with social distancing norms, telehealth services help doctors communicate directly with patients, and make a diagnosis (and if necessary, a treatment plan) without putting either party at risk. Research by McKinsey and Company shows that out of a number of people that had canceled medical appointments during the lockdown, 44% accessed telehealth options. They also found that online searches for telemedicine increased more than ninefold. Since Cloud-based healthcare facilities keep track of the numerous technological advances in medicine, it helps improve patient outcomes, giving them an advantage over facilities that do not use Cloud services.

Data security on cloud

The biggest apprehension with cloud-based systems is data security. The confidentiality and security of one’s medical data is an obvious concern, but Cloud systems can reduce risks by complying with regulations and policies like GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).

Skilled personnel

Other worries include internet connectivity issues, unskilled personnel, and worries over a lack of the ‘human’ element. The implementation of training programs will help familiarize staff with the workings of Cloud systems. As for the human element or the lack thereof, it is important to note that like with everything else in the service industry, healthcare too, has had to be tailored to suit consumer expectations in terms of speed, comfort, etc. If anything, therefore, Cloud-based systems provide patients with a value-based service.

Although it took a pandemic to catalyze the industry’s adoption of cloud services, there is no denying that it is the future of healthcare. The benefits and undiscovered potential of Cloud could redefine diagnoses, treatments, and more. Trigent helps healthcare organizations that are at any Cloud maturity stage – whether it is on an advisory level, migrating from a legacy system to the Cloud, developing a particular application, adapting portfolios to match the evolved Cloud architecture or any other Cloud service.

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Ref:

  • Siwicki, B. (2019). Hunterdon Healthcare migrates to Google Cloud/G Suite and saves $1.3 million.
  • Fabius, V., Kohli, S., Timelin, B., & Veranen, S. (2020). Meet the next-normal consumer.

The Importance of Small data vs Big Data for Healthcare

Clinicians favor small data over big data for healthcare assessments and predictions. Here’s why

The healthcare sector is fragmented, complex, and hyper-local. There are over 100 healthcare systems in the US, 280 health information exchanges, and over 5500 hospitals. One million physicians are addressing the healthcare requirements of 320M Americans. While all these channels spit out data, leading to what is popularly known as big data for healthcare, there is another quiet and continuous flow of data from individuals or in this case patients, called `small data’.

Deborah Estrin, Computer Science at Cornell Tech and Healthcare Policy and Research at Weill Cornell Medicine puts it succinctly when she says, “Small data is being generated continuously on our mobile phones and through our online activities: walking and location patterns, as well as shopping, communicating, and web surfing. It is the various data traces we each generate every day, just by living our day-to-day routine: checking email, taking the bus to work, going grocery shopping, walking home, and more.”

Why clinicians prefer Small Data to Big Data for healthcare prediction models 

The big difference between big and small data is in big data large volumes of data are analyzed for patterns while small data looks at an individual’s historical data to develop models for predictions and futuristic treatment.

 

While big data has been at the forefront in healthcare technology for some time now, clinicians are often turning to small data to efficiently manage patient care. Small data helps them by providing quick input on allergies, times for blood cultures, missed appointments, and so forth, which are tactical in nature but extremely important inefficient patient care. Big data for example can say, X number of patients were admitted in the ER during a certain period of time. Can big data quickly identify how often or why Mr. or Mrs. John was admitted to the ER last month?

Small data is providing big insights for the individual. An app for managing pain for example quietly collects data about the individual, such as a fitness tracker, and can be presented to the individual and his clinician. In similar ways, smartphones can track heartbeats, eating habits, fitness quotient and you name it, to empower the clinician with insights into a person’s physical well-being.

The rising importance of Small Data in healthcare technology

Technology companies see the potential of smartphones in healthcare and innovative solutions are being unleashed. For healthcare ISVs, the challenge is to connect small data to big data, to improve individual healthcare, even as solutions are uncovered which can have a far greater impact on a larger target group. Not stopping there, the hidden challenge is to ensure privacy even as data that is collected is assessed and answers are uncovered.

Healthcare systems that have implemented electronic health records (EHR) can extend this to patients. If the systems can integrate individual health information, then both physicians and patients are maximizing digital health technologies.

Big Data Model  Small Data Model
What can be the effect of immunization programs? Is my child’s immunity to diseases taken care of?
Where do some of the healthiest people in the world live Is my diabetes medication working as expected
Are there any generic factors to identify a disease  Am I susceptible to X disease?

Some suggested systems include:

  • Health information exchange
  • Point-of-care decision support systems
  • Workflow tools to track and report on patient health
  • Smartphone and online appointment setting and registration.

Trigent Software understands the healthcare space having served a large number of clients over the last 20 years. Our commitment to patient healthcare has resulted in our focus on small data to improve the quality of patient care, reduce healthcare costs, and enhance patient loyalty. Call us today to know how we can enhance your patient-clinician relationships.

Reference:

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/jep.12350

https://research.cornell.edu/news-features/small-data-and-big-health-benefits

How to Ensure HIPAA Compliance in the Healthcare Cloud?

Cloud computing has overcast most, if not all, industry segments because of the benefits it offers. From manufacturing to e-commerce, banking to insurance, and education to real estate, industries are adopting cloud for its inherent benefits. The healthcare industry is also undergoing considerable change with healthcare organizations focusing on delivering ‘smart healthcare’ which means non-traditional care settings, multi-location facilities, and long-distance patient service. According to Deloitte, “With quality, outcomes, and value being the buzzwords for health care in the 21st century, sector stakeholders in the US and around the globe are looking for innovative and cost-effective ways to deliver patient-centered, technology-enabled “smart” health care, both inside and outside hospital walls.”

Continue reading How to Ensure HIPAA Compliance in the Healthcare Cloud?

Internet of Medical Things – The Trigger for Healthcare Transformation

Introduction

Pedometers, smart blood sugar meters, wireless EKGs, symptom trackers for patients with asthma, connected inhalers for COPD, ingestible sensors—the Internet of Things (IoT) has changed the game in the healthcare industry. According to a market research report, IoT Healthcare market is projected to grow to USD 158.07 Billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 30.8%1.

Increased demand for remote patient monitoring, consumer health consciousness, wearable devices and emergence of cloud-based IoT platforms are contributing to the growth of smart healthcare market. IoT offers myriad applications in healthcare that benefit patients, families and physicians alike. It enables interoperability, M2M communication, data movement to make healthcare service affordable and effective.

Innovative Healthcare solutions for ISV’s & Providers

Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), a healthcare application of the IoT technology, refers to a connected infrastructure of medical devices that feeds patient vitals into the cloud. IoMT plays a vital role in the healthcare industry to increase the accuracy, reliability, and productivity of electronic devices.

IoMT is often used to:

  • Ensure adherence to doctor’s orders
  • Improve patient hospital workflow
  • Provide healthcare providers the data gathered from medical devices for better diagnoses and treatment
  • Reduce inefficiencies and waste in the healthcare system

Key areas in which IoMT shapes healthcare include:

  • Catering to government regulations
  • Growing consumer demands on medical devices and equipment
  • Providing personalized healthcare through data automation and AI

Benefits of Internet of Medical Things

For Patients

  • Remote monitoring
  • Reduced response time in case of medical emergency
  • Reduced costs
  • Behavioral modification
  • Reduced Medicare costs as real-time resulting in fewer clinic visits

For Healthcare Service Providers

  • Optimal utilization of resources and infrastructure
  • Monitor patient status, disease progression
  • Enhanced patient support
  • Reduced risk

For Medical Device Manufacturers

  • Compatibility and uniformity of data available
  • Capability to sense and communicate health-related information to remote location
  • Improved drug management
  • Quality control methods in the production of drugs and medical devices

Innovations in IoMT – Future of Healthcare

According to a Frost & Sullivan analysis, the global IoMT market is expected to reach $72.02 billion by 2021, at a CAGR of 26.2%2.The IoMT market consists of smart devices – wearables and medical/vital monitors, strictly for healthcare use on the body, at home, or in a clinic or hospital settings. For example, someone who wears a FitBit to track his/her steps, the count of steps is tabulated on a smartphone via Bluetooth. The data is shared with the physician via Wi-Fi to provide feedback. From FitBit to physician’s report, it is the IoMT that connects patients, healthcare providers via technology with a sole purpose – better healthcare – easier and faster.

Here are some of the innovations in IoMT:

  • Vitals-tracking wearables – For regular activity monitoring and heart rate monitoring.
  • Smart implants – Ensure medical interventions are sought immediately. Eg. Pacemakers that communicate data with physicians via apps, glucose sensors to check diabetes glucose levels.
  • Medical Adherence Tools – Reminds patients when to take their medications.
  • Virtual Home Assistants – Robotic assistants helps in patient engagement, medication adherence and care coordination.
  • Personal Emergency Response Systems – Helps in fall detection, emergency assistance and navigation guidance for patients with Dementia, boundary perimeter breach alerts for patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Smart Senior Homes – Helping elderly patients virtually communicate with care staff.
  • Digital Stethoscopes – Assist physicians in analyzing cardiac signals in real time during auscultation.
  • Kiosks – Improve access to informational services, pharmaceutical products, and telemedicine services.

“Prevention is better than cure”. So why not leverage the power of technology for better healthy lifestyle and prevent life-threatening diseases illnesses? It’s this line of thought that prompted Trigent to create innovative solutions for Healthcare Providers and ISVs.

To know more about how Trigent transforms the Healthcare Industry through the Internet of Things, please click here.

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Sources:
1 https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/iot-healthcare-market-worth-15807-billion-usd-by-2022-619971083.html
2 https://ww2.frost.com/news/press-releases/iomt-magic-bullet-reshape-coordinated-and-proactive-care-delivery/

How Cloud Computing is Impacting Healthcare Services

The healthcare segment is witnessing a healthy growth fueled by an aging population and increased focus on wellness by consumers. The current estimation is 11-17% increase in demand for healthcare resources between 2014 and 2025. Healthcare organizations are meeting this demand by focusing on IT-enabled patient care. Cloud based healthcare services seems to in a position of strength to meet and exceed these demands with several organizations migrating their existing applications to the cloud.

While there are several advantages of healthcare cloud services specific trends favoring the cloud are:

  1. Cloud-based IT solutions for value-based consumerism which rewards healthcare professionals and organizations on the basis of outcome and cost-effectiveness.
  2. Regulatory compliance requirements that have paved the way for cloud-based electronic healthcare record (EHRs).
  3. Digitization that has placed the overall control in the hands of consumers, requiring IT modernization with cloud computing at the center. This information-centric approach has ensured seamless collaboration, cooperation and information sharing.
  4. Healthcare delivery transformation which has helped healthcare to transcend distance, time and local practices. This ensures seamless collaboration in real-time which only cloud-enabled IT can provide.

Benefits of Cloud Computing

  1. For healthcare providers any innovation should result in business benefits and cost savings can never be undervalued in importance. Cloud computing provides cost flexibility with the potential to reduce costs on an ongoing basis. Capital expenditure allocated to infrastructure can be avoided and this itself becomes a huge cost saving along with cost savings resulting from pay-as-you-use models.
  2. Benefits, when not related to cost, are often tied to operational efficiency. The cloud offers scalability and the ability to adjust to demand. It offers seamless communication and collaboration advantages which lead to optimized operational efficiency.
  3. Cloud-based healthcare services providers ensure that their customers benefit from the superior security and their data remains well protected. Cloud service providers offer sophisticated controls including data encryption and access control, avoiding the need to store information on local devices.
  4. Healthcare functionality is enhanced greatly by cloud services which offer the potential for broad interoperability and integration. Cloud-based services help healthcare systems to remain connected enabling remote access to applications and data.
  5. Along with functionality enhancement, cloud computing offers new capabilities to implement better ways of working with patients, improve patient care and on a macro level better healthcare management. Cloud services can support healthcare providers’ staff cognitive capabilities to mitigate medical mistakes and minimize errors in judgement.

Innovative Healthcare solutions for ISV’s & Providers

In the recent past, several healthcare organizations, ranging from small private clinics to large hospitals, solution providers to insurance companies have begun adopting cloud computing. These organizations are reaping the advantages of cloud computing by automating and orchestrating their virtual assets. They are better equipped to mitigate disasters and are reaping the benefits of real-time intelligence. Over and above all this, IoT augmented patient care, cognitive assistance to medical professionals and economies of scale are pushing more and more organizations to opt for the cloud. These benefits extend beyond cost and service level drivers to improved responsiveness with internal business partners and decreased administrative overhead.

Big Data Analytics Can Play an Important Role in Healthcare

Before you dive into the importance of big data analytics in healthcare, you can learn about the importance of small data vs big data in healthcare.

Global healthcare is in a state of flux with big data analytics emerging as a powerful tool to transform clinical, operational, and administrative functions among others.  The healthcare IT market has grown from basic EMR solutions to specialized hospital information management solutions and healthcare information exchange systems and the Healthcare IT Solutions Market Report predicts growth at a CAGR of 13.57 percent till 2022.  This growth is being fuelled by the increasing role played by big data to manage patient care, reduce costs, and improve quality while keeping one eye steadily focused on operational efficiency.

Related: Innovative Healthcare solutions for ISV’s & Providers

Realizing the potential of big data

Probably realizing the value of big data, The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act created a $30 billion federal grant as an incentive to adopt EHRs, which has helped to generate tons of structured and unstructured data.  This data is finding its uses across functions and services.

Value-Added Services

Insurance companies, for example, are changing their models from a fee-for-service to value-based data-driven payments by using electronic health records that enable high-quality patient care. In the value-based model, doctors, hospitals, and insurance work together to deliver care that is measured by patient satisfaction and this model relies on data from EHRs.

Cost Savings

The same data from EHRs have also helped in mitigating fraud thereby increasing cost savings.  For example, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services prevented more than $210.7 million in healthcare fraud in one year alone.  Insurance companies have also experienced a higher return on investment.  United HealthCare generated a 2200% return on investment in a single year.  Big data analytics has helped these companies to take large unstructured information with regard to historical claims and by using machine learning to detect patterns and anomalies.  This has helped to control overutilization of services, patients receiving the same services from multiple hospitals, and filling out identical prescriptions in various locations.

Predictive Patient Care

By analyzing structured and unstructured data, and using predictive modeling on EHR data, it is now possible to diagnose various illnesses which is helping to reduce mortality rates.  To elaborate, devices are helping to monitor patients’ glucose levels, blood pressure etc.  When combined with machine learning IoT, proactive care for patients is a reality.  Advanced big data analytics is able to work with the unstructured data generated by these sensors.

To summarize, evidence-based medicine relies on patient data which is now growing more in availability.  Capturing data is, however, only the first step.  The next one requires analytics which will not only result in better patient care and engagement but also eliminate redundant testing, reduce expensive errors, and help save lives.