Home COVID-19 Interconnectivity in Healthcare is the Key to Collaboration Which Delivers Better Patient Outcomes

Interconnectivity in Healthcare is the Key to Collaboration Which Delivers Better Patient Outcomes

by Heidi Bullman

The outbreak of COVID-19 has profoundly affected the healthcare sector including the cancelation of one of the industry’s most important conferences, HIMSS20. With attendees and presenters moving quickly, the conference eventually took root virtually as virtual HIMSS20 where the topics of discussion included advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, data-driven healthcare, and, most importantly, the criticality of interconnectivity for fostering collaboration.

Today, healthcare systems handle enormous amounts of data. According to Stanford Medicine, “the sheer volume of health care data is growing at an astronomical rate: 153 exabytes (one exabyte = one billion gigabytes) were produced in 2013 and an estimated 2,314 exabytes will be produced in 2020, translating to an overall rate of increase at least 48 percent annually.” This data is created by myriad sources including patient surveys, administrative databases such as HR and billing software, medical imaging systems, and electronic health records (EHR) and keeps clinicians organized and patients informed of their treatment plans among other advantages.

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Within a healthcare system, data derived from these sources that’s analyzed, read, and managed by data scientists can be useful immediately. However, data isn’t always immediately useable or useful unless it’s shared first. The missing link is the connection between organizations where the exchange of data is driving innovation, reducing costs, and delivering better patient outcomes.

“Had I been interacting with customers at HIMSS20 I would’ve liked to ask, “do you know how data moves within your organization?” explained industry expert, Tim Waters of Equinix. “Because if you don’t, it’s unlikely you’ll understand how data, and the insights derived from it, are shared outside of an organization. Data that’s shared externally is invaluable because it leads to collaboration.”

The principle of interconnectivity in healthcare allows for the accessible and actionable exchange of clinical information — including the insights extracted from EHR, medical imaging systems, and other sources — among providers to streamline patient care. It also promotes data exchange from health systems to life science companies that focus on genomic research as well as providing valuable insight to pharmaceutical companies. In order to make this type of collaboration possible, healthcare systems need a secure interconnection platform. With the right platform in place, healthcare organizations not only save money but are provided the opportunity to integrate with ecosystem, cloud, and analytic capabilities ultimately streamlining digital engagement processes which leads to collaboration.

With petabytes of data growing by the minute, the healthcare industry has unlimited information at its fingertips to keep clinicians and patients informed and in-line with treatment plans. Additionally, by using the right interconnection platform, the data derived from healthcare organizations can be used to facilitate collaboration that leads to advancement of therapies, for diseases and viruses, and ultimately enables positive patient outcomes – helping to bring people back to full health.

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