By Gary Palgon, VP Healthcare Solutions, Liaison Healthcare Informatics
As hospitals make the transformation from providing fees for service to the Accountable Care Organization (ACO) model in which they are paid to oversee a particular population’s health needs, it is increasingly clear health information exchanges (HIEs) are essential for an ACO’s functioning.
The ACO model is based on doctors and hospitals knowing what the other is doing, and HIEs facilitate the necessary exchanges of information.
So then the next question facing Chief Information Officers is “Do I go out and buy HIE from one vendor and [these solutions] from another, or do I have an HIE from a vendor who has access in their company to those other layers of intelligence?” That was the question posed in HealthcareITNews’ 5 reasons HIEs are critical to the success of ACOs and I can answer that.
It is becoming more apparent that HIEs will have to offer many services which doctors and other caregivers are willing to pay money for in order for the HIEs to be sustainable. Many of these services require different applications and it would appear that no one vendor can realistically be good at providing them all. Key to the lifeblood of HIEs is the underlying integration and interoperability of data that is required throughout the ecosystem and between applications too. A firm foundation that can successfully address these needs will be essential. Cloud-based providers can allow for the quick setup of applications, as well as integration of the different data providers (hospitals, laboratories, doctors) and harmonization of the data.
The different types of cloud computing can provide the foundation for the HIE house and possibly even the structure for the house as well. Infrastructure-as-a-service can keep much of the HIE’s service infrastructure offsite and allow the HIE to focus on creating the necessary applications and software, as well as free the HIE from the burden of continuously upgrading their equipment. Platform-as-a-service will provide ways for an HIE to deploy applications onto the cloud infrastructure, while software-as-a-service (SaaS) can contribute to interoperability of the different members of the HIE and associated ACO by allowing them to share applications.
So do you really think one vendor can provide all the required applications and be good at all the integration and harmonization of data too? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Until next time,