As I wrote in my HIMSS 2019 recap, the world of health IT has shifted. One of the requirements of this new world is EHR integration. And with that requirement, data exchange with EHRs is the new thing that everybody wants to be doing. It doesn’t matter if it’s a small seed-stage startup or a Fortune 50 company, the underlying needs are the same.
This push to integrate with clinical data in the EHR is both exciting and a bit scary. Starting with the scary part, the news is never-ending when it comes to privacy issues over the use of personal data. It seems like every large technology company is under fire for a data breach of some sort. Apologize later has been the norm as companies have treasure chests of cash to fund violations. But governments, from states to countries to blocks of countries (GDPR in the EU), are taking up the cause to try to create rules to protect citizen data. No data is more valuable than health data so it is crucial to ensure it is protected and only used in ways that individuals authorize.
First comes integration, then comes innovation
The flip side and the exciting part about this trend towards EHR integration is that the door is now open to true innovation and transformation in healthcare. We often joke at Datica that many of the biggest digital health success stories of the last ten years have been about those companies that intentionally avoided EHR integration. Those successful digital health products did not require EHR integration to deliver value. We see this today at Datica as we work with some of these successful digital health companies in telemedicine, clinical communication, and care management as they now look to add EHR integration to increase value, user engagement, and utilization of their products.
This is a huge shift. The EHR has anchored health IT, clinical data, and clinical workflows. The EHR has eaten the mindshare and budgets of health systems and hospitals; it still does eat up most of the IT budgets. As EHR integration starts to accelerate, and as the EHR becomes one of many cogs in the massive machine that is healthcare and care delivery, we will start to see healthcare catch up to other industries in terms of technology and data accessibility for patients, providers, researchers, and data scientists.
The future of healthcare is data-driven
The EHR is the first domino to tip but there are other relevant data sources in healthcare today, and more coming in the future. That data-driven future is enabled by more freely exchanged and available data. The insights and services from this data will be immensely valuable. And that data is going to reside predominantly on the cloud.
This future is the one that all the massive technology companies see and the reason they are rushing to integrate clinical data into their products and platforms. It’s the reason EHR integration is so hot right now. At Datica, we see it objectively in the meaningful uptick in our website metrics, our webinar engagement, and our open rates in email campaigns with the market.