By Ruby Raley, Director of Healthcare Solutions, Axway
During Meaningful Use Stage 1, you could set up an EHR system and reasonably expect how others would access it — via a virtual private network.
But today, with Meaningful Use Stage 2’s interoperability goals, you need to expect more. You need to be able to exchange data freely with others, indulge your employees’ preferences in devices, and prepare for a world filled with transient connection points (e.g., home health appliances, telepresence, and mobile technology).
This is a world characterized by “the edge”—that realm outside the bounds of a secure data center.
The edge affects your ability to:
- Satisfy MUS2’s new interoperability requirements
- Improve patient and member experiences, outcomes, and satisfaction with health plans
- Offer your patients and customers quality, loyalty-driving interactions
- Reduce healthcare’s fundamental cost infrastructure
- Monitor how CAQH CORE Operating Rules and CMS mandates affect claims-supporting documents and claims-collaboration processes
How will you manage all of this? More importantly, how will you manage all of this after your secure data center moves to the cloud?
You’ve got to become comfortable with owning fewer and fewer assets, allowing transient connection points, and enabling real-time collaboration, all while supporting traditional document-based artifacts like claims, encounter information, and summaries.
These tactics will help you do it.
First, ensure consistency. Everyone who accesses your network via mobile or cloud-based services must use the same authentication and authorization that everyone inside your enterprise does. This ensures that they are subject to the proper rules and regulations, that the proper roles and rights are assigned, and that they have the same user experience no matter which device, channel, or method they choose.
Next, reduce channel variations. By consolidating your network’s access methods into an approved set of patterns, interaction mechanisms, and channel structures, you can:
- Push health records into encrypted channels and into the proper mode (i.e., real-time or batch)
- Ensure all connections are policy driven and aligned with the governance needs of your encrypted channels and edge devices
- Speed your ability to connect with the edge by standardizing channel management
Finally, evaluate onboarding efficiency. By making sure that adding a mobile device, a physician, or telepresence to your network is straightforward and routine, you enhance your ability to manage the life cycle of those connections over time.
The edge — that’s where the action is. When you don’t own it, you forfeit an opportunity to adapt to a world already brimming with users swapping data via smartphones and tablets. A world barreling headlong into a future filled with unprecedented transient connections like home health appliances and telepresence. A world where few assets are within your control.
But when you do own it, you realize the vision of improving the customer experience and patient outcomes, assert your competitive position in the marketplace, reduce your infrastructure costs, and provide the most consistent experience to everyone in your network.
Those are advantages worth striving for.
Now’s the time to act. Now’s the time to get edgy!
This blog post was cited in HIMSS.org’s recap of its annual Blog Carnival, “a week-long series that highlights guest posts from a variety of health IT authors that center on the most pressing issues that will be discussed at HIMSS13.”