As we continue to rapidly transition into a virtual care model throughout the healthcare industry, the concept of whole-person care has never been more important. The key to successfully coordinating care is working together to share information across platforms and provide care through the lens of the whole person. Integrated care is only made possible through technology that allows for seamless data sharing, giving the provider the right information at the point of care.
In this Psychiatry and Behavioral Health Learning Network webinar sponsored by Netsmart, General Manager Behavioral Health, Neal Tilghman MPA, Executive Vice President and General Manager Government Solutions, Carol Reynolds and Senior Manager of Interoperability, Andy Fosnacht, explore how one integrated view of a consumer can impact the provider, the consumer, the provider organization and the entire healthcare industry.
Tilghman kicked off the webinar by discussing how social determinants of health (SDoH) affect access to care and the overall health of our communities. 50-60% of health outcomes result from behavioral, social and environmental conditions, therefore Tilghman explained the need to capture data regarding these measures and use them at the point of care to help drive clinical decision making. This became widely apparent when Reynolds walked through the fictional health journey of a man named John.
Throughout John’s health journey, he saw six different providers with six different electronic health record (EHR) systems. John was provided a variety of medications, although there was no coordination between providers as the EHR systems were not integrated and John was not disclosing his previous treatments. The lack of information sharing leaves a huge risk for error, including a risk for his medication counteracting. John’s care was also affected by SDoH, as he lost his job and could no longer afford to fill his prescriptions and pay for follow-up visits. If you take a look at the total picture of an individuals’ life, not just at their healthcare, you get a much different story about their quality of life, which was shown as John’s health deteriorated after unemployment. Although fictional, John’s story is not uncommon. It is a testament to the power of data and information sharing that is necessary to provide quality, whole-person care. If his providers knew the complete story of John’s care journey, Reynolds noted that John would have avoided a lot of risk, saved a substantial amount of money and received proper care from a connected system of providers.
Data sharing is key to achieving connected, whole-person care. However, there still a lot of siloed care platforms that do not have the ability to seamlessly share data. What are some of the data sharing mechanisms we can use to break the barriers between different venues of care? Fosnacht starts by introducing different ways EHRs can communicate and share data among each other, the first being through Direct Secure Messaging. This mechanism is a national encryption standard for securely exchanging clinical healthcare data via the internet.
It can be used to send a referral as well as ongoing communication regarding protected health information (PHI) that is an email-like functionality within the EHR. Fosnacht discussed another standard of data sharing, which is through interoperability platforms such as Carequality. This platform operates similar to the banking system. Like an ATM, when a person presents at a healthcare venue, providers have access to all of the information about their past care and treatment. Providers can obtain on-demand clinical information through a system to system interaction.
In addition to these mechanisms, Fosnacht said we are seeing an evolution of different interoperability standards, specifically a one called FHIR. FHIR provides infinite data exchange options. Not only can providers easily transmit demographic information, but also transmit care plan and treatment information down to the individual data element.
Overall, connected systems can have a significant impact on clinician satisfaction and provider shortages while driving outcomes. For consumers, integrated care helps removed barriers to care, creates smoother transitions to different care settings and results in an enhanced care experience. Learn more about how interoperable technology systems and care coordination can drive whole-person care while addressing SDoH though information sharing and provider collaboration. To watch the full webinar, click here.
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