Finally something’s moving! It can be frustrating trying to drive innovation in healthcare technology. Slow adoption rates, intractable EHR vendors, and misaligned objectives can make for slow going. But as I reflect back on 2018, it is clear that we are starting to sense a fundamental shift. Three trends are converging that will have a hugely positive impact on healthcare. Technologies that enable the remote monitoring of patient health and–with greater adoption of the FHIR standard–progress on healthcare data interoperability are converging with an increased emphasis on quality-based care. We are at an inflection point, which will finally allow the healthcare ecosystem to focus on the patient, and for the patient to become more meaningfully engaged in their own care. Here’s a deeper look at the first two of these trends.
Telehealth: It’s not just chatbots and video chat.
Telehealth has been talked about for a while for its potential to meet consumer demands and improve access to care–especially in remote areas. While the benefit to the consumer is clear, less has been discussed on the benefit to the provider. This is partially because people tend to think of telehealth as chatbots and video chats. Two components of telehealth are growing in demand for providers: remote patient monitoring and integration into the provider workflow.
In 2018, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) expanded reimbursement for remote patient monitoring, and experts expect more reimbursement to come this year. Remote patient monitoring specifically refers to the use of digital technology like connected health devices to collect patient data in the context of their daily lives and securely send it to their doctors. Armed with a more complete picture of their patients’ health, clinicians can send virtual encouragement or clinical action like a prescription adjustment when necessary to their patients. Providers are excited about the potential of remote patient monitoring to reduce or even eliminate unnecessary hospital admissions or readmissions, but are hesitant to invest in these technologies unless they work within their existing clinical workflow, which brings me to my in-vogue health idea number two: interoperability.
Interoperability: Shouting FHIR in a crowded Health IT space
Another indicator of value-based care trends to come from CMS in 2018 was the renaming of Meaningful Use to Promoting Interoperability. Put simply, interoperability means the ability for health information systems and software apps to communicate, exchange data and use the data they’ve shared. Providers have already invested a large amount in their Electronic Health Records (EHRs), and while EHRs have made huge strides in digitizing healthcare and allowing for data to lead the way, they haven’t always communicated well with each other or other technology.
Enter FHIR: Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources, a new-ish standardized API that enables better communication among different EHRs and health IT apps. Essentially, FHIR created a shared language for health IT systems that all health IT players could use to exchange, interpret and process data and medical records. The FHIR standard allows third party apps to work seamlessly within the clinician’s workflow–no additional sign in, no gap in data, no burdensome updates as EHR versions change. The good news? FHIR is starting to catch on.
Better Telehealth, Better Interoperability, Better System
At Rimidi, we recognize clinician frustrations around lack of interoperability. We know the clinician point of view because we were founded by clinicians, and we created our software with a physician’s lens and an underlying belief that we can do better as a healthcare system.
If you will be at HiMSS19, we’d love to meet you! Rimidi will be at the Georgia USA Pavilion: Booth #4573.