In the strive for improving patient care the availability of correct patient data is a crucial component. We are constantly working to ensure that your medical history is available to those who need it the most when you need it the most, as it could be a matter of life or death.
As society becomes more digitalized, the expectations we as consumers have to the services available to us become greater. Healthcare is no exception. If you or a loved one have suffered a complex health issue, you can probably relate to numerous visits to various healthcare providers that did not have your medical history and records readily available. Perhaps you brought your records, pictures and results with you on an USB-stick to ensure that the clinician would have the necessary information available. If you are nodding your head in recognition, it means that interoperability was not in place at the care facilities you visited, meaning they were not connecting what matters.
Cerner continuously works to put an end to patients having to carry around their medical records by participating in the industry initiative called Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE). IHE enables interoperability, which is the ability for patient information to move between health care entities regardless of the technology platform in place or the location where care has been provided. Interoperability occurs when information flows freely across organizational, vendor and geographic barriers.
Systems developed in accordance with IHE communicate with one another, are easier to implement, and enable care providers to use information more effectively. Cerner has a history of leading and supporting industry initiatives that advocate for the use of common standards and practices that underpin interoperability and open platform approaches. We believe that ubiquitous interoperability happens when patient information can move freely between competing systems without organizational, vendor or geographic barriers.
“The Cross-Enterprise Document Reliable Interchange (XDR) is a good example of how IHE supports the optimization of the care process across borders. The profile enables document interchange using a reliable messaging system. This is a big advantage for direct document interchange between Electronic Health Records, Personal Health Records and other healthcare IT systems when there is no document-sharing infrastructure available. For instance, a Norwegian tourist is admitted to hospital while on holiday in the Netherlands. There is no document exchange infrastructure available between the two countries. When the patient returns home and needs follow-up treatment, reports, lab results and images from the Netherlands are forwarded to the Norwegian hospital via IHE and the XDR profile” Richard Francken, Senior Consultant, Cerner Benelux.
The entire health care industry will benefit, but ultimately, patients stand the most to gain from interoperability. Healthcare professionals can provide better care by being able to see the different care touch points that make up a patient’s medical history. Past problems, allergies, medications, immunizations, lab results and more help the provider make an informed decision about patient care. Digitizing and sharing this information removes the burden from the patient from having to carry physical copies of records from doctor’s office to doctor’s office, or more challenging, rely on memory of past treatments to provide context to his/her care givers.
As the healthcare sector moves forward and faces the major changes that lie ahead, the technological advancements already taking place promise a future where patients are actively engaged in managing their own health in an interconnected and safe way, whilst clinicians will experience patient treatment as more efficient with necessary information being readily available in a safe way.