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Why Single Platform HIT? Because Well-Coordinated Care Requires Ready, Secure Access to Well-Coordinated Data

Posted by Sue Ellen McKelvey on April 20, 2017

shutterstock_620404598.jpgHealthcare has developed into fragmented specialities of care, costs and the patient is lost in the processes.Health information technology (HIT) is more important than ever in being able to support new delivery models of delivery and value based payment reporting. Not only do providers, facilities and healthcare systems need to collect a greater amount of data and from more diverse sources, but that data needs to have integrity and be much more detailed than in the years past. And data, like new care models, must be better integrated across the care continuum – after all, fragmented data isn't conducive to fixing fragmented system.

Meeting those demands for more and better data means depending more heavily on a greater range of software solutions to collect, store, manage, manipulate, analyse, display, share and report data. If your HIT system is one made up of software programs from disparate sources for disparate purposes, adding more applications – and therefore more complexity – can make your healthcare operation more cumbersome for end-users to manage.

However, adding the increasing range of functionality from within a single-platform HIT offers an ease that to date has not been available. Without all the cumbersome difficulties of multiple systems in use in the one office, all day-to-day clinical and administrative duties are efficient and the data is easily seen real time. All information to support new delivery models of care and value based payment reporting required is in the one single database in such an HIT platform. That allows data to be accessed smoothly, efficiently and instantly.

On the other hand, a healthcare IT system made up of disparate software solutions, each with their own databases, must synchronize data collected via those separate databases regularly. Not only does this fragmented system of data collection and storage create built-in delays in accessing data, but it can limit the quality of the data output and have a restriction on the range of analysis provided easily for your healthcare providers and other stakeholders. The data integrity can be lost as it is trawled and transferred to new software and across data analysis platforms. in healthcare decisions any loss of data integrity is unacceptable.

So now that we've addressed the well-coordinated data issue, let's get into the security issue. The sensitivity of personal healthcare information – classified as Protected Health Information (PHI) under HIPPA regulations – means that security must also be prioritized for both ethical and legal reasons as we collect ever-growing amounts of that information.

The use of patient portal software and telehealth consultations is growing rapidly. An increasing number of healthcare providers are implementing and using patient portals regularly; healthcare consumers increasingly like them. Unfortunately, many portals consist of third-party programs cobbled on to existing practice software – practice management software, for instance – or are built as a separate operation, like an app or website.

A healthcare IT system composed of disparate software platforms is less secure than a single HIT platform. The option of a patient portal software built as a seperate operation can be an attractive purchase - but can present potential vulnerabilities around the PHI data collected.Please carefully look at the set up of the portal and telehealth offerings when considering the options; ask questions: how is the data is stored and how is it transferred to your database.

Information contained within the patient portal software – contributed by both providers and their clients – is very personal and private; the majority of which is PHI, subject to HIPPA privacy and security rules. Generally, it includes details of the personal health records, data uploaded by clients, prescription details, messages sent to and received from clinicians, appointment schedules, insurance data, financial information and much more, .

To be useful in management of healthcare clients, this information must be accessible to both clients and providers, which means that all that sensitive information must be transferred back and forth - the interface or transferance of data across software programs ay be a point of vulnerability. Since uploads and downloads are a weak point in data security, there is an increased risk of data compromise or loss. Secondly, a mish-mash of disparate platforms means that security and HIPPA compliance tools are also disparate, which can lead to security/compliance vulnerabilities or breaches as data moves between platforms.

These are not issues of concern in a fully-integrated single platform that includes the patient portal. Since data is delivered directly into the one database, there is no points of transfer/upload/download vulnerabilities. Additionally, HIPPA compliance and security protocols are end-to-end or uniform across a unified system, they are applied consistently to every function, feature and process throughout that one platform

The takeaway points here are that when all data from all software solutions is held on the one single database, risk points for data integrity loss are reduced. There is also greater quality of data governance inbuilt; this gives better usability for broader analysis. With the seamless data integration in the one platform - 'real time' instant access to data across all areas of your operation is yours! This gives a higher level of data management, manipulation, sharing and reporting; all very necessary for the new models of high-value, well-coordinated care.

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Topics: Health Information Technology

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