Continuing our review of Robert Connely’s predictions for the future of HIT, we look at what he describes as “emerging technologies that allow collaborations across systems and settings.” The frontier that health IT is tackling today is community collaboration. For a long time the focus of health IT development has been on the “setting” – the hospital or the physician office. Until now, it has been impossible to use technology to effectively follow the natural flow of how a patient’s care is delivered across the full spectrum, from one provider to another, to the lab, to the hospital, etc.
While the current technology focused on the setting is incredibly valuable when it comes to improving care and performance and reducing malpractice, we need to go further to accommodate what physicians really want, Robert believes. And what physicians want is clinical intelligence delivered to them at the point of care. Currently, the industry in general is only at the level of tying systems together – essentially just laying the pipes. To get physicians to adapt technology broadly, we need to give them more and better information on which to make care decisions.
Robert also notes that the trend toward electronic health records (EHRs), patient-centered medical homes, and accountable care organizations (ACOs) will get not only the physician, but nurses and staff – the people who facilitate the capture and collection of data as well as collaboration – involved in using technology to improve patient care. Nurses and staff are, in fact, the lynchpin to creating and evolving a new information system, he says.