Integrating Systems and Services

By Samuel Greengard Print this article Print

As information technology changes the face of medicine, IT executives are recognizing the need to build a integrated platforms and share data in innovative ways.

Integrating Systems and Services

Accenture’s Smith says that business and IT executives must place a premium on integrated delivery of services, understanding how data flows through the organization, and how EMRs and other data delivery tools fit in the overall picture.

“A lot of IT leaders think that once an EMR system is in place, the job is done,” he says. “In reality, it has just begun. Without tight integration between systems, there’s no way to maximize productivity and financial gains.”

A robust and interconnected IT infrastructure provides other benefits too, including the ability to tap into data streams that once escaped notice. Audrey Fisher, director of cardiovascular services at Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City, Calif., has witnessed a transformation in analytics capabilities at her medical facility.

Only a few years ago, “Collecting and understanding data about the quality of cardiovascular care was difficult and time-consuming,” she says. “The systems were inflexible, and the data was static. As a result, we weren’t able to maximize the use of information.”

Today, Sequoia is tapping IBM Analytics software to cull more than 200 data elements for any given patient, including demographic data, risk factors and general outcome information. The system, which contains data from more than 10,000 cardiac patients, helps surgeons determine which procedures and approaches are most likely to succeed in a given situation.

“The software creates a level of intelligence that otherwise wouldn’t exist,” Fisher says. The result? Predictive analytics has reduced mortality rates in cardiac surgeries by 50 percent.

Accenture’s Smith says that as organizations connect various pieces of the IT puzzle, they’re able to reap significant gains. Managing EMRs and other data across a mélange of systems requires a more strategic and sophisticated approach—along with an infrastructure that’s flexible and resilient enough to support ongoing change.

“It isn’t only about adopting new technology,” Smith concludes, “It’s about adopting and adapting the technology in the right way.”

This article was originally published on 2011-06-16
Samuel Greengard is a freelance writer for Baseline.
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