The Healthcare Information System Mosaic

Our clients environments are both sophisticated and complex, often times with different vendors in the fold for the different healthcare information systems that are utilized by the organizations. For those clients that are Managed Service Organizations (MSOs) or have different sub-entities, this is even more pronounced. Consider for a moment a scenario where an Integrated Delivery Network (IDN) consists of four physician groups under its umbrella. Some of these physician groups were added via acquisition – and as such were using existing systems such as EHRs or PMs from vendors different than those of the organization they were joining. The following mosaic illustrates such a case:

Given the graphic above, one can appreciate the complexity involved with the following core enterprise organizational functions:

  • Interoperability – Most systems do not easily interoperate with one another and thus require interfaces to be developed to facilitate communication between the systems
  • Patient Matching – uniquely identifying a patient across the enterprise in a system-agnostic fashion.
  • Reporting and Analytics – Each of the systems may have different database technologies at their core, and additionally the structure of the data is sure to be different.  This creates a challenge in reporting metrics to exhibit adherence to meaningful use criterion for instance or to
  • Trust – Which patient data should be shared across which systems?

A recent presentation at a NEHIMSS last month illustrated these points above and did a great job of communicating how Partners Healthcare is addressing the Healthcare Information System (HIS) mosaic via their COMPASS project. The COMPASS project is an aggressive initiative which implements a common administrative system and processes to streamline revenue cycle management and help manage costs through a “holistic, patient-centric, workflow-driven approach.”

The efficiency of the mosaic of systems (ala Claude Shannon for those EE nerds out there) is subpar at best. But this is the environment organizations find themselves. The alternative would be to consolidate to utilize one vendor across all systems ala the COMPASS project. However, some vendor systems are better at functions than others and the cost for conversion may be prohibitive or in some instances not feasible. For those organizations seeking out advice or recommendations for healthcare information systems, check out the folks at Software Advice as they offer great resources.

Contact us today if your organization seeks assistance with data conversion or integration of healthcare information systems.

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