Unifying the Healthcare Assembly Line

assembly line 1Driving toward value-based care first requires a healthy understanding of the environment in which we are operating. Though regularly criticized, the U.S. healthcare system is actually strong: we have some of the world’s best hospitals and doctors. Individual service lines can provide attentive and effective care, whether it is cardiology, endocrinology or oncology.

However, we are falling short by failing to pull these service lines together. That is where the challenge lies. By focusing on wellness, we have the capability to deliver collaborative care and truly transformative outcomes.

Think of healthcare as a variety of assembly lines, all located in different warehouses. While each assembly line is delivering the best piece of the product possible, there is still no unified view of the final product. Similarly, patients may find themselves seeking care from several different providers. Each provider may use a separate IT system, with each system pulling from various data sources.

As a result, there is no holistic view of the patient’s health. Rather, the person’s care history and data are in disparate pieces. We can never expect to transform care when we continue to work in silos. Instead, value-based care lays the foundation for a future where all industry stakeholders must collaborate in a new way, putting meaning and action behind the abundance of patient data.

The importance of collaboration cannot be overstated, and the numbers prove it: projections show that the population covered by accountable care organizations (ACOs) will reach 105 million by 2020. As the industry experiences increasing merger and acquisition activity and more hospitals become part of ACOs or integrated delivery networks (IDNs), establishing a framework built on interoperable and scalable technology will ensure our healthcare assembly line operates seamlessly within a single warehouse.

The Aftermath of the EMR Gold Rush

The launch of Meaningful Use under the Affordable Care Act drove the electronic medical record (EMR) “Gold Rush,” the mass implementation of EMRs in a shift away from paper charts. This shift had two serious consequences:

  • Health systems had to reorganize their workflows to support this foreign technology, rather than the technology advancing care team coordination and improving efficiencies as promised. This transition to digital health technology left many providers feeling burned and created a more divisive healthcare environment. Keep in mind that many ACOs and IDNs have numerous EMRs throughout their systems. This leaves patient data sprinkled across systems, and physicians may find it difficult or impossible to access data at a crucial time – the point of care.
  • Health systems are now awash in a sea of complex data. In fact, data is piling up so fast it outpaces our ability to analyze it proficiently, rendering much of it superfluous. Physicians must try to make sense of it all by compiling and comparing patient information, from family history to medication regimens to test results.

Technology must help physicians serve the needs of the patient. Instead of forcing technology and workflows onto providers, we should focus on putting both physicians and patients at the center of our efforts. Holistic, collaborative care hinges on the healthcare industry’s willingness to change the lens in which we view health, and create a continuum of consistent maintenance and prevention. Rather than only treating patients while in front of a provider, a longitudinal patient view is possible only if we empower physicians with the necessary tools and actionable insights.

Value-based care can be the engine of our assembly line, pushing us to collaborate. By implementing technology solutions that aggregate condition-oriented data and provide visibility across systems, we can then create complete patient pictures that help physicians make fully educated decisions.

With nearly 25 years of experience in healthcare, Scott Corbitt is an industry veteran with extensive knowledge of information systems, clinical care and hospital operations. Joining AirStrip in 2014 as the VP of Commercial Operations, Scott manages all commercial team operations, implementations and user training at AirStrip.

After launching his career as an emergency department nurse, Scott continued his clinical practice in Level I Trauma and Critical Care until he merged his love of healthcare with his passion for computers and entered the healthcare IT space in 2004, conducting operational process analysis and reengineering to support healthcare technology implementations.

Immediately prior to joining AirStrip, Scott served for three years as Market Information Systems Director, Security Officer and acting CIO over a large healthcare system in Memphis, TN.  In addition, Scott has previously worked with companies including CliniComp, Dell Services and IBM’s Healthcare Practice, specializing in healthcare IT project management and implementations. Scott received his B.S. in Nursing from Baptist College of Health Sciences and his M.S. in Health Services Administration from University of St. Francis.