Category Archives: Interoperability and Standards

Meaningful Use and Laboratory Data Management: Getting to the Next Level

I am known for having a “glass is half full” optimistic view of life, so when I was recently presented with the opportunity to be a panelist at a Meaningful Use discussion, I accepted. The discussion was held at the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) 2014 annual meeting in Chicago. This year’s Healthcare Forum session was held jointly with American Society for Clinical Laboratory Scientists (ASCLS). I pondered the best way to adequately portray the complexity (a.k.a. frustration and confusion) occurring across the industry as hospitals attempt to keep up with MU (not to mention all of the other federal mandates). Continue reading

Is Nursing Interoperability Within Reach?

This summer, I attended a nursing informatics conference that inspired me to believe that interoperability of nursing data is achievable. The Nursing Knowledge: Big Data Science for Transforming Healthcare Conference, hosted by the University of Minnesota School of Nursing, brought together nursing thought leaders from nursing practice, education and informatics. The goal of the conference was to “Advance a national plan for capturing nursing information for big data research aimed at identifying effective care interventions and improving patient outcomes.” So the question I asked myself: “How far away are we and is nursing interoperability within reach?” This blog discusses the current state of nursing interoperability and an initiative in progress to support interoperable nursing data. Continue reading

Keeping up with HIT Regulations

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Guest blog by Amy Sheide, Clinical Analyst with 3M Health Information Systems’ Healthcare Data Dictionary (HDD) team

The ICD-10 delay announcement is over a month old but there still are a lot of Health Information Technology (HIT) regulatory changes to keep up with. The new 2015 Electronic Health Record (EHR) Technology Certification Criteria Proposed Rule and implementation of the 2014 Meaningful Use requirements remain top priorities across the industry. The unfortunate take away is that the amount of change in the HIT landscape is not going away and the amount of effort required by organizations to keep up with and successfully implement these requirements is becoming more and more difficult to maintain. For example, look at the trends in EHR certification criteria. Vendor readiness was stated as a serious concern in meeting the 2014 stage two certification requirements and many organizations were held captive to the promise from their vendor that the EHR technology would be ready in time to meet the 2014 requirements. The release of the 2015 EHR certification requirements supports the goal of the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) to provide more frequent releases of certification criteria that were less cumbersome for EHR vendors to meet. Despite the goal of more nimble updates and requiring changes to EHR technology in smaller increments, nearly half of the 2015 certification criteria are new or revised (Figure 1). Continue reading

ICNP/SNOMED CT Nursing Terminology Collaboration

In January, the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organization (IHTSDO) and the International Council of Nursing (ICN) announced the release of an equivalency table between the International Classification for Nursing Practice (ICNP) concepts and SNOMED CT concepts. What does this mean for nursing? In order to answer this I will describe the collaboration agreement between the ICN and IHTSDO, give an overview of ICNP, and discuss how this agreement impacts standardized nursing terminologies.

The IHTSDO has a formal Harmonization Agreement with ICN to “advance terminology harmonization and foster interoperability in health information systems.” ICN is a federation of more than 130 national nurse associations representing millions of nurses worldwide. Operated by nurses and leading nursing internationally, ICN works to ensure quality nursing care for all and sound health policies globally. Continue reading

Healthcare’s Efficiency Challenge

I’ve started reading a book by William Baumol called The Cost Disease, which raises an interesting question. Why in 2014 can I buy a laptop computer that is smaller, more powerful, and most of all, much cheaper than one I could have bought just ten years ago, but healthcare costs have risen from ten years ago? Why are some industries able to become more efficient, and produce more of their goods or services, faster and cheaper, while other industries are stuck in a spiral or are continually raising costs with stagnant efficiency?

I won’t give a full, in-depth review of the book, but in short, the analysis lays out the premise that in some industries, such as with computers or automobiles, manufacturers are able to continually improve on both their manufacturing processes and the quality of the goods they are manufacturing. This enables these manufacturers to produce better goods at lower costs. These lower costs then enable them to pass some of these savings on to their customers, as well as to pay their employees more money. Continue reading

Delivering on the Promise of an “E-Health” Revolution

As more and more hospitals and healthcare organizations convert more and more of their paper medical records to electronic health records (EHRs), an interesting dynamic has begun to emerge, as well as an interesting challenge.

The dynamic is that while the conversion from paper to electronic records was promised to provide time and cost savings for healthcare, the adoption of EHR systems by physicians has led to a number of perhaps unforeseen consequences. One of the chief consequences, which could also be considered a chief complaint, is that physicians who document on their patients electronically make less eye contact with their patients and have lower patient satisfaction ratings, vs. physicians who document on paper. Continue reading

Will Population Health Management Drive Innovation? It Depends on the Data

If you need a coronary artery bypass graft, India might not be the first place you’d think of to have the surgery done, but you might want to think again. A coronary bypass graft in the U. S is likely to cost $88,000 dollars. The same treatment in a JCAHO accredited hospital in India only costs $9,500. Both the U.S. and India meet world-class quality standards, so why does the surgery cost so much less in India? It’s simple: Innovation in the healthcare delivery process.

A recent Harvard Business Review article studied seven hospitals in India that are delivering world-class care at a fraction of the cost in the U.S. These hospitals are able to deliver affordable, high quality care largely because they have adopted a hub-and-spoke model for delivery. They concentrate the most expensive equipment (PET scanners, cyberknives, and cyclotrons) and specialized physicians in the Hub. In the spokes, they keep general practitioners and lower cost equipment. Patients are diagnosed and care plans are created in the hub, and the treatment is delivered in the regionalized spokes. Continue reading

Off to HL7 We Go!

Guest blog by Senthil Nachimuthu

The normative release of the HL7 Common Terminology Services version 2 (CTS2) functional specification is about to be completed, and that made my latest expedition to the Alamo city especially enjoyable. This month, the HL7 Working Group Meeting (WGM) was in San Antonio, Texas. The HL7 CTS2 Service Functional Model (SFM) outlines the ‘functional capabilities’ of the next version of HL7 CTS v1.2. If you are new to CTS2, it’s a joint project between HL7, OMG and others under the umbrella of Healthcare Services Specification Project (HSSP), where HL7 publishes the functional specification and OMG publishes the technical specification. I’m a co-author of the HL7 CTS2 SFM and am pleased to see that the standard is about to be published. It’s nice to see the editors and co-authors of the standard in person at the HL7 meetings after talking to them on conference calls week after week. Continue reading

Customer Connections: The Spark of Innovation

This past week, I gave a tour of our Innovation Center to one of our newest employees, a recent college graduate. During the experience, she remarked, “I like the feeling of being in the Innovation Center. It makes me feel like I work for a company that is doing really cool things.” I had to smile, because we designed the 3M Innovation Center to do just that: create conversations between 3M experts, industry experts, and customers to identify unmet needs, so we could create “cool things.”

We opened the first Innovation Center in Salt Lake City in 2010. The economy was struggling and the Healthcare Reform bill had just passed, which accelerated the transformation of health IT, similar to the shift from analog to digital. The healthcare landscape was changing and changing quickly, so we invited our customers to join us in the Innovation Center for joint strategy sessions. Continue reading

Using Information and Terminology Standards to Improve Care

Healthcare data should be structured within a standardized information model so it can be easily and safely shared among patients, consumers, and providers. This structure would advance the vision of a transformed health system while enabling improved outcomes, quality of care, and lower costs. Standardized nursing assessment charting can enhance continuity of care yet research has demonstrated a lack of standardization in codified point-of care nursing assessment data. There is an international initiative in progress to develop guidelines for the creation detailed clinical models (DCMs) that can be used for standardized care. The goal of DCMs is to provide sharing of data, information, decision support, reports and knowledge to support evidence based practice and ultimately translates into a higher level of quality care. Continue reading