Healthcare technology has always been a complex business, and it’s not getting any simpler. In the 1960s, mainframes were the behemoth systems that stored data, mostly related to a hospital’s accounting functions. In the ’80s and ’90s, health IT turned to desktop computers and networking solutions for clinical and operational data. In recent years, federal mandates under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act caused the focus to shift to electronic medical records (EMRs), bringing numerous advantages for patients, medical practices and health systems, such as:
- Fewer errors in personal health records
- Efficient transfer of patient data
- Enhanced workflows that allow for increased productivity
- Reduction of labor and operational costs
- Superior e-Prescribing and clinical documentation
While EMRs are powerful systems that have gone a long way in bringing healthcare organizations into the digital age, they cannot do everything. Hospitals need numerous systems to take full advantage of their EMRs in ways that benefit caregivers, patients, and the hospitals that have invested so many resources.
The challenge for today’s hospital CIOs is choosing vendors and technologies that integrate with the EMR as well as numerous other hospital systems. That’s why integration is such a hot topic in healthcare, and is something we take very seriously at Voalte.
The first Voalte integrations were with Philips Intellispace Event Management (previously Emergin) and Connexall, which enabled us to give hospital caregivers a single end-point device for communication as well as alarm and alert notifications. We have since integrated with technologies from many other companies with the goal of giving our customers a complete communication platform that ties together multiple solutions seamlessly.
In other industries, integrations are more commonplace than in healthcare. Salesforce, for example, started as an application platform but has grown into a platform other companies can build on. (See last year’s news about the Box-Salesforce integration, which helps their joint customers access files more efficiently and lets developers easily embed Box’s content-management functions into Salesforce.) Facebook and Twitter are examples of consumer solutions that allow others to build on their platforms, using APIs in ways not originally intended. (If you followed the Politiwoops story, you know that Twitter pulled the plug on this archive of deleted tweets by politicians, before reversing that decision as part of its pledge to foster better relationships).
In the future, we believe the Voalte Platform APIs and SDKs will allow partners and customers to create innovative solutions that we cannot even begin to imagine. Our partnership with Datica is a cornerstone of our strategy of allowing innovators who use Voalte Platform to have easy access to EHR data so they can build amazing patient-centric solutions. We are able to do this because Datica lets us focus on our job rather than on the administrative, compliance burdens.
Alex Brown is Director of Strategy at Voalte, where he leads the Product and Partnership teams. Over the past five years, he has managed partnerships with leading EMR, device and integration vendors.