By Frank Din, DMD, MA
In my previous posting, “Why is the Health Information Exchange (HIE) Important? REALLY! Part 1”, I left you waiting with bated breath as to how I see the second and third order benefits emerge from a robust HIE capability. If you missed the last episode, here’s a quick summary: Why do we need HIEs?; an Interstate highway system metaphor; second, third order benefits and unintended new capabilities.
Once data is flowing across the HIE, a number of second order benefits will develop to answer a simple question. What can we do with all this data? For this post, I provide one answer - analysis to turn data into knowledge; from simple arithmetic like counting the number of aspirins, to the very complex, like determining the relative effectiveness of different approaches to treatment (surgical versus pharmaceutical intervention).
How can any Electronic Medical Record (EMR) keep up with the continuing demands to make sense of the data? Even if EMR vendors did, each addition is an update/upgrade to software, which introduces:
- End users costs
- The possibility of crashes
- Added staff, etc.
So outsourced analytic services that are accessible via the HIE is a business opportunity with a real cost benefit. The clinical provider collects the data via the EMR, and this data is pulled by or pushed to the analytic service provider via the HIE. This is a recipe for success. As the notion of auxiliary services via the HIE gains momentum, a positive feedback loop with network effects takes hold. Success breeds success.
Just as in other industries, there will be no single provider or single set of analytic services. Instead there will be many flavors including:
- Large versus small firms
- Cost versus quality focused
- Professional versus patient focused
No matter how an analytic service provider approaches this, there will be an opportunity for businesses to support them - the third order benefits. Performing analytics for multiple, competitive providers and/or payers will stretch the capacity of any organization. The use of third parties to handle Extract, Transform and Load (ETL)) and data warehousing services via private Cloud Computing makes sense operationally and financially. The analytic services company ( second order benefit) focuses only on core intellectual property, the high margin stuff, and pushes the low margin stuff to companies (third order benefit) that can provide economies of scale.
Finally, let’s take a look into the crystal ball and define the future. What does a fully implemented HIE with third order benefits firmly established, portend? Well, for that, you will have to wait for my next blog post. Why? It could be just to “yank your chain” (I admit to a dark side) but there is a valid reason.
The entire series of these blog posts present the important functions that an HIE needs in order to realize the full benefits. By delaying my vision of the future and making you read through the entire series of posts, I hope to educate you and in so doing, you will either appreciate my insights or decide that my insight is hogwash. So the future must remain in the future for now.
Want to learn more? Check out these resources: