Indiana’s healthcare app revolution holds great promise

The healthcare industry is often accused of delivering a disjointed customer experience. This is usually not due to a lack of interest in patient care by hardworking caregivers; rather because the information is locked in data silos developed to capture clinical documentation and facilitate billing.

With rising consumerism, increasing competition, federal mandates and payer incentive shifts, healthcare system leaders and IT vendors have been rattled into action in recent years. Rather than being rewarded for simply performing more procedures and seeing more patients, providers are increasingly being rewarded for delivering significantly higher quality.

The keys to successful healthcare in the age of quality are data exchange and system interoperability. This has opened up a new opportunity for innovation, and Indiana’s health and technology leaders are stepping up to address this need with an initiative to drive innovation by developing apps that integrate with the system. electronic health record (EHR) system.

Over the past decade, healthcare system leaders have rushed to implement EHRs and improved billing systems to qualify for significant use (MU) mandates that included a federal cash incentive if they were over and a less desirable penalty if not over. Equipped with these systems, providers can document care episodes to code and bill for these procedures. While these are important internal back-office functions, there is a chasm in how they can meet the needs of customers demanding improved service and proactive engagement from their vendors.

In order to generate added value for patients and providers, clinical and back-office systems must become open and extensible to facilitate access to information and transparency for patients across multiple providers and healthcare facilities. As iPhone taught the world, the key to innovation and value is providing an open platform for thousands of innovators to develop apps that meet many unique consumer needs. With apps, healthcare can truly become connected.

The goal of connected healthcare is not simply to make all patient records available electronically. This requires that a patient’s records are available across all healthcare settings for both provider and consumer, and that health systems and providers have visibility into all of their addressable customer base. It’s not just about “caring for the sick”. It’s about keeping people healthy to live long and healthy lives and avoiding hospital stays whenever possible.

Connected health seems easy enough in a world used to accessing a wide range of apps and data on different devices. However, behind the scenes, facilitating data exchange and interoperability is extremely complicated.

With Meaningful Use legislation, the government has required IT system providers to make health information open and accessible to third-party systems and applications through secure protocols. Recently, industry leaders and government officials have criticized and challenged some technology vendors and healthcare providers for blocking data, which thwarts information sharing and makes second-guessing virtually impossible. price comparisons and the creation of useful applications. In a major breakthrough, Health and Human Services has reached an agreement with leading EHR vendors to improve the flow of health information to consumers and providers.

An important interoperability standard that is rapidly gaining momentum is the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resource (FHIR), which provides systems with a quick and easy way to securely exchange healthcare data. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has helped drive adoption of this new standard by running FHIR-based app development challenges with cash prizes.

Indiana’s top innovators are following suit to improve healthcare through the development of apps that integrate with the market-leading Epic EHR system. Just as Indiana leads the industry in health information exchange (HIE), the state is now poised to launch a new revolution in healthcare app development.

On April 23-24, Indiana HIMSS, Eskenazi Health, and various other sponsors hosted a Connect-a-Thon that brought together leading developers and innovators to create the next generation of integrated, interoperable health solutions .

Participants were challenged to use FHIR application programming interface standards to create new applications addressing common health issues, including identifying at-risk populations, monitoring patients, and establishment of exceptional service throughout the continuum of care.

Creating a new healthcare paradigm that delivers personalized service through connected and widely accessible information is now within reach. Through the efforts of Indiana’s healthcare leaders, technology companies and developers, making connected health a reality could become Indiana’s next major breakthrough.

Brad Bostic is CEO of

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