Today’s buzzword: Data. For healthcare and life sciences, in particular, data is essential. How it’s interpreted, managed, and made use of, will bring opportunities for healthcare providers and in some instances, the opportunity of new treatment.
With that, every day there are new trends, data transmission formats, standards, regulations, and solutions for distributed databases. Healthcare faces the ongoing challenge of how to make sense of data and how to handle issues of its secure storage, processing, and exchange. With that, the question still remains, “is the risk worth the reward when using third-party solutions”?
As a custom software development company, Artezio is vendor neutral. We’ve dealt with clients who preferred to use third-party solutions, as well as those who have made a choice to build the whole system from scratch. One thing is certain for both, in order to make this decision, you need to take into account all critical aspects. Let’s look at a few examples of using third-party solutions/providers and see how they worked out.
1. TrueVault – a simple solution that allows you to become HIPAA / GDPR compliant without overhauling your entire application and migrating your infrastructure. Sounds great, right?
Especially if most of the work you need to do is on the application side, and healthcare data repository is just a part of your solution. We’ve had examples like that. One of our clients built a web application that provides a user-friendly interface for health practitioners, doctors, and caregivers. Giving them the ability to create, as well as manage medical landing pages in strict compliance with e-health standards. The app has a site wizard to design and build landing pages. It also includes a dashboard to track and manage the page’s performance. Being a client/patient facing web application, it deals with a lot of PHI, which is distributed between different users. In essence, it is a React JS application built over HIPAA compliant storage, represented by TrueVault.
In another case, we used TrueVault to solve a different issue. Imagine a doctor who needs to request tests for patients on a daily basis. Some are standard, others are specialized. How frustrating can that be to make thousands of requests in various systems? How complicated can this process become due to all the required paperwork and missing pieces? What if the tests you need are in small laboratories who are not present in your EHR? Suddenly, a simple routine task becomes an overwhelming dragging torture. We were able to simplify this process for both the lab service providers and the doctors by creating an uber-like multi-tenant portal with a simple interface. The labs and lab services providers subscribe to the portal to have their services featured. Clinicians can make a request to have a set of tests done and get the results to share with their clients/patients using one single platform. The lab requests are automatically routed to participant laboratories in accordance with HL7 data transfer principles. The environment of this solution is HIPAA and GDPR compliant. It was easy to set it this way with TrueVault.
Consider using it if you need to get a secure database for your solutions quickly. Another case would be if you have a legacy system and the task of migrating infrastructure is not suitable for your situation.
TrueVault has a plugin API which is well documented and supported. It’s pretty simple, even if your tech knowledge is limited. They also have a very educating blog with valuable tips on GDPR and HIPAA compliance. All you need is to get good UX/UI designers and developers to build your app and you’re all set.
2. Think!EHR Platform – Is a big data solution based on the latest release of OpenEHR specifications. It is designed to store, manage, query, retrieve, and exchange structured electronic health record data. All data is stored in vendor-independent archetypes and templates.
OpenEHR is a standard that describes the management and storage, retrieval, and exchange of electronic health records. It’s also a virtual community working on means of turning healthcare data from the physical form into electronic form as well as ensuring universal interoperability among all forms of electronic data.
One of our large clients needed to create an enterprise scale comprehensive EHR. The system included medical appointments scheduling capabilities and BI dashboard. The main task was to aggregate electronic information and records across healthcare system of a large city following interoperability and safety standards, automate processes, and provide efficient analytics to allow making information-based decisions.
The challenge here was in the complexity of the task and the organizational structure. Every organizational level has its own rules and follows its own procedures. It took a while to really dig into the OpenEHR solutions and capabilities they provide. We chose Think!EHR and it helped us to streamline the project and get the client going with the MVP to test it at one of the organizations in a matter of a few months. Then based on the feedback collected and the roadmap, we’ve created a modular solution covering all processes and aspects across all levels of the healthcare system. The modules include EMR and electronic documents workflow, patients record management, medical institutions and doctors information, the online appointment for patients, and complex scheduling based on the doctors’ workload.
Consider using it if you need an enterprise scale solution and have developers to help you. It’s a complex tool so you need someone who has mastered it.
Use it if your primary focus is on electronic health records (EHR) and related systems. The platform has an array of interfaces including REST, SMART, HL7, FHIR, and IHE.XDS. One of the benefits is in the integration of external terminologies like ICD, LOINC, and SNOMED-CT.
Another advantage is the OpenEHR community where you can find a lot of answers and help. Even though it’s a complicated solution it provides unmatched capabilities for you to automate all processes. So you will need to be looking for an experienced developer to help you with that. First of all, they need to understand the principles of OpenEHR. Secondly, it’s very likely you will need someone who can customize and tailor the solution specifically to your needs.
3. SpiritARCHIVE (PACS) by Tiani is a software solution for handling, storing, printing and transmitting of medical imaging and pictures (DICOM – Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine).
So, speaking about various data formats to deal with (documents, papers, images, test results, etc.). While it’s more or less clear with text, what do we do with pictures, scans, MRIs, CTs? We solved this task for one of our clients and SpiritARCHIVE helped us do it effectively. We built a HIS platform for unified patient records and documents workflow management. The client needed to obtain results from digital radiography, magnetic resonance imaging, computer tomography, and sonography, and get them matched as well as attached to their patient records.
Patients’ data is stored in a highly standardized and protected environment and includes DICOM images, 2D/3D objects, PDFs, JPEGs, video files (MP4, MPEG, AVI), CDA files, and other data formats. The system unifies different formats and presents them to the users on a single interface in accordance with IHE standard. It allows doctors the ability to quickly retrieve and modify patients’ records and documents. SpiritARCHIVE, in this case, enables integration of medical imaging devices – modalities, scanners, servers, workstations, printers, network hardware, picture archiving, and Communication Systems (PACS) from multiple manufacturers.
Consider using it if you need to store, handle, print, and transmit medical imaging (including digital images, results of digital radiography, CT, MRI, and sonography). This solution observes strict adherence to IHE criteria and it’s also compatible with systems of different manufacturers (modalities, scanners, servers, workstations, printers, and network hardware). Use it if you work with 2D and 3D objects or video files.
That’s just a couple examples. Think about it, how often do you find yourself torn between the latest technology and the regulations in healthcare? Knowing the standards or just the technology is no longer enough anymore, is it?
Getting a consultant or a company to help you sort everything out is often viable. If you do think about it, pick someone who has already done this with different solutions. Someone who is fluent in the latest technology and familiar with the healthcare standards. Someone who can offer effective solution taking into account all these rules you have to follow and the results you would like to achieve.
We could be your guys for that. Drop us a line to firstname.lastname@example.org, let’s talk.