It’s no secret that the world of healthcare is evolving. And as government mandates like ARRA HITECH are enacted, the role of technology within the hospital will continue to be the critical path to having the right patient data available at the right place and at the right time.
As we enter 2013, one of the biggest initiatives for hospitals will be to better manage the intricacies involved with patient data integration. Through the development of a core and unified connectivity infrastructure, device integration at the point-of-care will become an important objective for hospitals to meet as they build that infrastructure.
As medical device connectivity continues to evolve, it grows increasingly complex. There is a variety of connectivity requirements for the multitude of devices located in different care areas both in and outside the hospital. So it’s no coincidence that in a recent ECRI report the mismatch of patient data and failure of interoperability were cited as two of the top healthcare technology hazards for 2013.
To better manage patient data, hospitals will turn to platforms that can handle the complexity of having multiple connectivity models at points of care wherever it is desired.
Data quality and interoperability will be at the forefront of the connectivity infrastructure. In 2013, the need for interoperability and use of quality data by hospitals will drive an increase in connectivity at the point-of-care through flexible solutions that are determined by the location of the patient.
Even in the eventual presence of connectivity standards, hospitals will still have different approaches based upon a minimum of the following models:
- Connectivity models: gateways, wireless, wired, software-only or hardware-based
- Association models: barcode scan, RFID technology integration, manual or on screen selection.
- Boundary models: in-patient, out-patient, skilled-nursing or home health
As a result, we’ll see a tighter focus on improving the coordination of care, patient engagement and adherence to governance of managing patient data over the continuum of care. This will in turn require the building of infrastructures that will support this and all future deployments of point-of-care connectivity within the framework of these models.
Ultimately, 2013 will showcase the patient as the center of any connectivity infrastructure. While the debate over healthcare transformation has continued for years, technology now exists with enough critical mass to support initiatives, such as Meaningful Use, ACOs, care coordination, patient engagement programs and more. It has created the perfect juxtaposition for the development of a connectivity infrastructure that puts the patient at the center.
To do this, hospitals will need the patient’s data, in particular the patient’s vitals, readily available to clinicians. For hospitals, this data will be the primary focus at each point of connectivity, following patients throughout the hospital network and where they are located.
The three years following ARRA HITECH have brought many improvements to the healthcare system, as well as some challenges. 2013 will be a year in which hospitals invest in laying the groundwork necessary to impact efficiency and patient care in a truly meaningful way.
Edited by Braden Becker