March 28, 2017

FHIR Fuels Transformation at Hospitals

Laleh Hassibi

Vice President of Marketing

The hype about FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) has spread like, well, wildfire. The healthcare industry is often targeted by new, sexy technologies that sound great on the surface but often have few practical implementations. FHIR is NOT one of those technologies. In fact, FHIR has many practical use cases and benefits. More importantly, for the first time in twenty years, healthcare organizations, vendors, and even payers and life sciences providers agree this is the path forward for modern integration. This prevalent support is speeding FHIR’s adoption and feedback loop on improvement. Datica’s newest guide, What Health Systems can Gain from FHIR Adoption, takes a candid look at the factors fueling open-data transformation at hospitals and health systems. Here are a few highlights from the guide.

EHR’s aren’t cutting it.

Hospitals, in particular, are looking for technology solutions that are complementary to their EHRs. EHR vendors have accomplished what they set out to do – digitize paper health records in order to improve accessibility of information. Patients’ healthcare data is now centrally stored and can be viewed across disciplines within an organization. Those EHR implementations laid the information technology groundwork that would become the fabric of a healthcare transformation movement. As Datica’s co-founder Travis Good wrote in a recent blog post on the Rise and the Fall of the EHR, the EHR and data consolidation are just the foundation for organizational transformation.

Today, hospital CIOs and CMIOs are feeling pressured to improve interoperability with other organizations, eliminate data blocking, and embrace value-based care. And, as they realize the limitations of EHRs, they are increasingly looking for solutions from workflow-specific vendors that solve needs their EHR vendors do not, reach different markets than their EHR vendors, and more rapidly deploy new solutions than the EHRs’ on-premise architecture allows.

The key to unlocking this organizational transformation is making the data in the EHR accessible. The industry has been focused on interoperability for the reason that being able to access the aggregated data is the only way to move from documentation tools to innovative care delivery models. An open data standard, such as FHIR, and a single implementation of the standard in a centralized data hub is the most efficient way to move the needle on data accessibility.

Patients expect transparency.

Patients aren’t as captive of an audience as they once were. They expect connectivity and transparency in their healthcare experience because of their experience in other industries.

It’s easy to forget that patients are consumers in every other area of their lives. The consumerization of the retail, travel, banking – and almost every industry except healthcare – has changed patient expectations. Consider what Rocket Mortgage did to eliminate the complexity and the burden to the consumer when securing a mortgage. Now, getting a mortgage is self-service, pre-approval comes in minutes, and clear, transparent information is provided.

This type of innovation is what people have come to expect and want from everything – even healthcare.

Government mandates aren’t the reason for the revolution.

Certainly, APIs are going to be required under legislation to increase third-party access to data. We’ve seen references to API in Meaningful Use, MIPS/MACRA, and 21st Century Cures legislation. The United States government typically targets strategies that are working well in leading organizations and then incentivizes or penalizes the rest of the healthcare providers to play catch up. Good examples to illustrate this point are e-prescribing and PQRS and/or Meaningful Use. Even so, government mandates are not the impetus for technology revolutions in healthcare.

So why are the frontrunners focused on API adoption? What are they hoping to gain in terms of health system operations and culture?

We invite you to download Datica’s newest guide, What Health Systems can Gain from FHIR Adoption, to get the answers to these big questions. The guide unveils what FHIR enables in health systems, not from a technology perspective, but from an operational improvement perspective.