It seems as though the world gets smaller as we become more connected through networked, computerized systems. In today's complex healthcare ecosystem, practitioners are increasingly challenged to provide seamless patient care amidst a sea of information technology systems, countless applications, and mounds of data. How can clinicians make sense of it all while at the same time effectively caring for their patient populations?
At NextGen Healthcare, it is our goal to partner with our clients to help them better manage all aspects of their practice. One way we approach partnerships is to help streamline patient information exchange to help increase practice productivity and while enhancing care. We call this "connected health," also known in the industry as "interoperability." The seamless connectivity among differing information technology systems and software applications is a must-have if delivering optimal patient care and effectively managing the practice is at the top of the priority list (as it should be!).
According to the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), "Interoperability describes the extent to which systems and devices can exchange data, and interpret that shared data. For two systems to be interoperable, they must be able to exchange data and subsequently present that data such that it can be understood by a user."
Succeeding in today's value-based care environment means quickly and accurately exchanging patient data with external providers while ensuring simple access to the complete patient record -- a harmonious information exchange at every step in the clinical workflow and at the point of care. For example, vital health records should follow patients regardless of where treatment occurs or which electronic health records were used. Access to the full patient record allows physicians to make more informed decisions and better treat the patients they serve.
Imagine, for example, a primary care physician (PCP) who sends a patient to a specialty physician such an immunologist. In an ideal world, the PCP will transmit the patient's records to the specialty physician, and that specialist's team will later quickly send over results from an immunologic test, even if the two practices are using different software systems.
NextGen Healthcare's interoperability platform, NextGen® Share, connects our clients with 1.2 million healthcare providers -- the largest provider directory in the United States! Our platform is open and vendor-agnostic, enabling clients to access patient information at every step of the workflow, improving clinical efficiency and strengthening financial and patient outcomes. For example, the timely sharing of information from a blood test conducted at a PCP's office last week can be electronically accessed and used the following week if the patient visits an emergency room – saving time and the cost of unnecessary tests. Additionally, NextGen Healthcare is founding member of Carequality, a national-level common interoperability framework that enables exchange between and among health data sharing networks. Using the NextGen® Share's Carequality service, NextGen® Enterprise users have exchanged over 3 million messages with external systems and organizations.
Our NextGen® Enterprise and NextGen® Office (formerly known as MediTouch) technology accommodates the unique needs of ambulatory practices to help achieve interoperability, patient engagement, regulatory compliance and value-based care delivery. And, our Connected Health Solutions (including former Mirth® products) integrate with existing technology systems within healthcare practices to enable fast, cost-efficient data exchange. In fact, we surveyed our interoperability solutions clients and found that 47 percent of respondents said they can automatically or easily locate patient records – a 32 percent increase from the previous year.
Leveraging interoperability and its ability to connect multiple data streams is crucial. Beyond making it easier for medical professionals to electronically share information with one another and optimize providing patient care, the efficiencies gained can manage costs and help providers more effectively manage their practice.