Let’s make it easier to access data

There’s a different aspect of Allscripts Open initiative that occurred to me while I was watching a TED talk by Intel’s Eric Dishman.

That idea is Care Anywhere. Previously, I had limited my thinking about Open as being a data-sharing, innovation, collaboration initiative.

But Open is about more than breaking down the silos around information. It’s about helping to transform care by making it easier for patients and providers to escape physical limitations around care delivery.

Overcoming physical barriers to detect heart trouble

Spaulding International has an electrocardiogram (ECG) device that patients can use anywhere, with the result saved in the patient’s electronic health record (EHR). The patient no longer has to go to the physical hospital for an ECG.

Compare that with wearing a Holter monitor, a technology that has been in clinical use since the 1960s. You go to the doctor’s office, and they attach leads. You walk around with it for 24 hours. Then you bring it back. A few days later, you get a report.

When do the doctor and patient make a decision based on that report? A week after the fact? It’s inefficient because the doctor and patient have to be in the same place at the same time – a doctor’s office or hospital. And what if the results warranted a quick response?

We can use Open to help overcome that physical limitation, as we did for ECGs with Spaulding. And there are other technologies, too – a continuous glucose monitor, scales, various pedometers – with lots more coming from our diverse developer base.

Care Anywhere means that no matter where the patient is, he or she can contribute to the corpus of knowledge that may help the physician make a better, faster decision. Open technology, and our partnership with Intel, will help get the information to the right place at the right time.

Mobile devices usher in a new era in healthcare

In my career, I’ve seen three major transitions. From 80 column cards to terminals (yes, I started that long ago), from terminals to PC’s, and from character-based to a graphical user interface.

Today, we’re in the midst of another, maybe the largest transformation of them all – from primarily a keyboard and mouse interaction model, to a touch and gesture method of navigating through systems.

And at the same time, we’re moving away from being tied to a physical location for information. (As a 3-year-old recently asked his mom, “Does your phone know everything?”). Windows 8 devices (and others) enable change in how we practice healthcare today.

These new interfaces challenge healthcare IT organizations to build new ways – both provider and patient-centric ways – of navigating the growing data we have available about the patient. Previously we’d build a system by saying, “Here are the fields in the database; make a form to help us fill them out.” Those days are long gone.

Today, we try to anticipate what the doctor wants to see, and bubble those things to the top. We want them to have exactly the information they need so they can plan the best care for the patient.

Our Windows 8-based mobile EHR will automatically make charts and graphs to help the doctor educate the patient and show the effect of their medications. We’re optimizing screens and touches to “make things easy” not just “make all things possible.”

We live in revolutionary times. With the confluence of the pervasive Internet, the next generation of devices, new operating systems, wearable devices, and Open toolkits – we’re on the verge of realizing this idea of Care Anywhere and making healthcare into a team sport.

Isn’t that what you want for your family?


Editor’s note: This post also appeared on the Intel Healthcare Community blog.

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About the author

Stanley Crane is Chief Innovation Officer for Allscripts. In his more than 30 years of healthcare and consumer-related software experience, he has led the development of award-winning software programs including electronic health record, electronic prescribing, web-based medication sales, online physician education, resource scheduling, financial systems, materials management, medical translation software and voice recognition dictation systems. Previous to his healthcare experience, Stanley was involved in Silicon Valley, where he held positions with many well-known software companies. As the General Manager of Lotus cc:Mail, he created the first remote mail products. He was also the Vice President of Engineering at WordStar International, and Director of Applications at Ashton-Tate, managing their Macintosh products as well as dBase IV. Before that, Stanley was a founder of two Internet startups – MaxMiles, an automated frequent flier mileage aggregator, for whom he built the first versions of the product; and Shopping@Home, a company that was acquired by Allscripts in 1999 to support medication sales.


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