Healthcare is arguably the most challenging industry under pressure to change the way that it has traditionally handled knowledge-based resources. Electronic health record (EHR) vendors must deliver results from a range of technologies that are likely to change again before they can fully implement the prescribed solutions. Additionally, the process of adaptation is not always a smooth one; vendors must recognize the risks of overpromising and under-delivering organizational change if the cultures undergoing the changes do not entirely commit to the process.
Evidence Based Medicine and Big Data In EHR
The medical profession is awakening to the promise of Big Data applications in healthcare. Medical organizations are hungry for the tools to mine the patterns and insights concealed within the datasets of EHR systems. Healthcare providers can potentially have the ability to see the patterns and segment populations according to needs and tailor their services. Some of the hoped-for benefits are:
- Preventing communication errors between physicians, service providers, and patients
- Improving process controls to streamline admissions and discharges
- Integrating clinical records, research and data warehousing for better and faster decision-making
A Role For EHR Vendors In Healthcare Change Management
Healthcare providers understand the potential within Big Data, and they are seeking to implement changes that make the most of the potential. This enthusiasm puts EHR vendors in the position of being expected to deliver results even though change management initiatives have historically not had a high rate of success. Vendors must recognize that the innovation that they deliver is a more holistic process than just implementing new software architectures; the way that users exploit the technology has to change to make the best use of the new capabilities.
Business intelligence (BI) analytics software excels at gathering and mining both structured and unstructured data for insights from the dataset. It can help to make diagnoses and prevent errors and also rapid reporting and cost savings to deliver improvements in decision support and create a better experience for the patients. Perhaps most strikingly, BI can create structured information sets for specific populations and for patients presenting symptoms that require accurate evaluations.
Big Data Analytics & Business Intelligence
The adoption of EHR systems across the healthcare industry has created demands on EHR vendors to keep up and to find new solutions that improve on information gathering and processing. Much of the pressure arises from the need to compile structured data from unstructured sources. EHR is expected to become the nexus that aggregates all of this information and to do so in real-time.
There is a broad spectrum of legacy systems from traditional EHR systems to collections of unstructured data that include everything from scanned scribbled doctors’ notes and drawings to the records of text message-based systems. New data floods in from such diverse sources ranging from high data rate diagnostic tools to patient-owned digital wearables. Practitioners hope to integrate the new with the old, to create knowledge management resources greater than the sum of the parts.
Challenges Faced By EHR Vendors
The suppliers of EHR integrations are facing many challenges, such as churn and consolidation within the industry, which is constantly shifting and expanding in the face of disruptive innovation. Additionally, the Federal government is enthusiastic to see the healthcare industry replace paper records and provides funding for EHR initiatives, but government certification compliance demands counter-balance the support. Additionally, EHR projects require leadership to create successful change management campaigns at the institutional level. Vendors can respond by nurturing the change, teaching organizational leaders how to facilitate buy-in from medical staff and administrators so that users of the new technology do so to its best effect.
Concluding With Solutions Beyond Architecture
Across all industries, BI is pushing ahead, and the rate of knowledge growth is furious and still accelerating. Healthcare is knowledge-intensive and crucial to preserving life and quality of life. The moral imperative to push the boundaries forward is unmatched by most other industries with perhaps the exceptions of the military and public safety. EHR vendors have the added pressures of rapidly changing technology, unstructured legacy systems, and training to overcome the inertia of conservative healthcare organization operational practices.
Change management leaders have a heavy burden in any Big Data project. In healthcare, that load is perhaps the most extreme because of the scope, demands and responsibilities that go with it. Vendors of EHR and BI integrations for healthcare must be agile and versatile in the extreme if they are to deliver on the promise to innovate and roll out effective solutions.