De-silo Health IT

The following is a guest blog post by Erin Wold, Account Based Marketing Program Manager at Hitachi Data Systems. You can follow Erin on Twitter: @ErinEWold
Erin Wold
So we have started on the path of enterprise imaging with redefining the EMR, but we can’t stop there. Although, I noticed more familiar faces at HIMSS16, there weren’t enough imaging professionals. We need to de-silo the IT departments within healthcare systems and align them with the strategy that IT is just technology whether it’s radiology, cardiology, mammography etc. The overall IT department should be focused on interoperability and coming together to create a cohesive EMR including enterprise imaging.

Imaging is no longer limited to radiology, yet we still have specific radiology IT staff. This creates more siloes. I have seen it time and time again where the specialty IT departments are at odds with the hospital IT because they want to claim ownership of the data. I can’t blame them though because if something goes wrong with that data they are held responsible. So I don’t blame them, but like redefining the EMR to include all types of data we have to align the IT departments to reflect the whole EMR.

There should no longer be specific departmental IT rather there should be one large IT team with breakout teams that are dedicated to specific departmental (cardiology, radiology, pathology, billing, etc.) software and applications like the PACS or picture archiving system. They should be under the EMR and be tuned into it to create a cohesive team that can complete the patient within the EMR. No more “this is my data and you can’t touch it.” It is now this data belongs to the patient and it needs to be readily available to the patient and all the point of care physicians.

We as vendors and providers need to think of the patient record as the point of documentation rather than each individual department and physician creates their report and then sends it to the referring physician. The patient’s team of physicians and departments where studies and test are completed should be considered team data.

Next time you head into your doctor or head to the ER ask the question: “What is your hospitals standard for sharing?” If they respond with “Well we’ll send you home with a CD or we’ll provide you with a paper print out of a PDF.” RUN and run far away from that place. While a CD may sound like a good idea I am pretty sure you don’t have a DICOM viewer in your basement to view these images. Most likely your point of care physician doesn’t have the same viewer as the images were taken on and what if the CD gets scratched in transfer or even worse lost. If you get my drift, a CD is not the answer. Those images belong in the EMR and so does the radiology software and application support staff.

If you think about it, when you log into an online banking account like Chase you don’t have to log into your mortgage, credit card, savings account, checking account and investment specialists to get all the additional information. You have ONE VIEW of all these accounts as soon as you log in. I don’t know about you, but I consider all my banking information: social security number, credit score, retirement savings as vital as my healthcare information and should be kept as secure. Therefore I see no reason that HIT shouldn’t be aligned more like banking and offer a complete patient record. HIMSS gives us an ideal platform to align all of these departments.

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  • Fair view, my view is that it is the delivery of a technology service that encompasses health IT. When the funding comes from a central source for all IT services you will see a de-silo effect. The difficulty is that the funding in cycles for different services dont align – hence to move towards a central delivery of IT services investment needs to be brought forward to align the cycles. Thats the tough bit….

  • Erin,

    Your use of Chase (or other banks with online banking) is very much to the point. Financial IT offers many good examples for Health IT, ranging from system integration and data sharing to best practices on privacy and CRM. However, the Health IT world seems to believe that it knows best, and has nothing to learn from Financial IT. I’ve made a point here a number of times that Health IT areas often won’t even look at the large mass of unemployed or under employed Financial IT professionals who are on the outside due to shrinkage in Finance (or offshoring of their jobs). All that most Financial IT people need to be useful in Health IT is some transition training. The Feds tried to provide some (albeit very sloppily) but Health IT people ignored that even as they complained they can’t get enough staff. I’ve had hospital IT hiring managers tell me that they are not ALLOWED to interview me for any position even with my knowledge of their field because I have not worked in Health IT already.

    It’s nice to see that someone in Health IT realizes that Financial IT and those experienced in it have much to offer.


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