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HIMSS19: Interoperability and Improving Patient Outcomes

Alexa Cushman
February 20, 2019

Consumers in any industry expect data quality, whether it's within their bank account or their online shopping cart, but more than anything, data quality within the healthcare ecosystem is vital for patients to receive the best care from the best providers.

This year, at HIMSS19 in Orlando, interoperability and the quality of patient data were two themes highlighted over and over again as the best ways to improve patient outcomes and help many healthcare organizations transition to a value-based care system. At the conference, I had the pleasure of hearing from a variety of healthcare professionals from across the globe, spanning technology, medical, and business operations as they shared how they're helping patients achieve their desired results through interoperability.

Population Health

When it comes to improving patient outcomes and reducing readmission rates, data and analytics hold the key to helping improve many patients' overall health--before they even walk into a care facility. This includes tracking and standardizing population health trends to not just treat those who are sick, but provide prevention tools prior to a condition's onset. With predictive analytics, healthcare organizations can identify those at risk for certain conditions and help provide them with tools to maintain a healthy lifestyle such as prescribing wellness diets and exercise programs, ensuring they are scheduled for their yearly physicals, or even integrating with their wearable fitness trackers. This type of real-time data standardization to stay on top of those most at-risk can help improve care and outcomes across the continuum.

Improving Patient Outcomes

As more healthcare organizations across the United States implement a value-based care system, it's more important than ever to have standardized, reliable care that provides cost-effective outcomes. This includes systems that can easily speak to one another, both within the organization and beyond, per HL7 and FHIR standards.

This also includes automating data and routine tasks so patient information is manageable and trackable and easier for clinicians to work with. Using intelligent automation for the high volumes of data surrounding patient care has not only been shown to improve patient outcomes and reduce readmission rates, but reduce costs as well. When repeatable, actionable tasks are automated, discharged patients, especially those with chronic or acute conditions, are less likely to need repeat inpatient care.

Physician Burnout

Another key factor touched upon at HIMSS regarding interoperability was that of physician burnout within the United States.

According to a Reuters study in 2018, nearly two-thirds of U.S. doctors feel burned out, depressed, or both, and this affects the care they render to their patients. During HIMSS, physicians from South Korea and Australia discussed structuring data for value-based care--when collecting data from the electronic medical record (EMR), the more automated the process is, the lower the burnout rate. On the flipside, the more manual a data process within a facility, increasing the amount of labor put upon clinicians, the higher the rate of clinician dissatisfaction.

Intelligent Automation for Interoperability

It's more apparent than ever that intelligent automation can help healthcare providers promote data quality and improve patient outcomes. However, many healthcare organizations don't even know where to start with this process or where they should go next in order to improve their quality of care. To see how your organization stacks up on the path to utilizing intelligent automation to streamline data, head over to Appian's Intelligent Automation Readiness Assessment. There you will be able to complete a short survey which will help you assess where you stand and the best next steps.

Also, head over to the Appian Healthcare page to see how we are helping healthcare organizations around the world improve patient outcomes. Then, feel free to reach out to me to set up time with one of our healthcare executives and see a demo on how your organization can use Appian's low-code platform to meet their specific goals.

After a wonderful week in Orlando, I look forward to seeing you all again next year at HIMSS to hear about strides made during 2019 to bring together IT and medicine and improve patient outcomes!

Alexa Cushman

Senior Industry Marketing Manager, Healthcare & Life Sciences