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Interoperability was a key theme at this year’s HIMSS (Health Information & System Society) Management conference, one of the largest healthcare technology conferences globally.  Interoperability is about pulling one source of information from a vast number of difference systems to create one point-of-truth of information about a patient. The importance of this in healthcare is significant, for example it could mean knowing that a person is reactive to a medication before anything is administered. Without interoperability patient records are sitting on different systems that do not communicate, information is at best not connected or worse, lost.

Mercy, the 5th largest catholic health system in the United States gave a presentation at HIMSS about their use of technology to not only integrate data from multiple source, but also analyze and finding the value in the data.

Mercy serves three million people each year through their hospitals and ambulatory services.  To best serve their patients they have just over 45,000 employees. Their dedication to be a technology leader in healthcare has been recognized by The Accountable Care Organization (ACO) as project of the year, Mercys’ CIO Gil Hoffmann was named one of the nation’s 100 hospital and health system CIOs to know. This honor is given to the most innovative and accomplished health care CIOs who are using technology to further the mission of their organization while elevating the level of patient care.

What’s interesting about Mercy’s story is that they realized the power of their data and built a more efficient IT system to tackle something that many healthcare providers have avoided; they wrestled their data to pull value from it.  The value from an operational standpoint is a given, but they had a higher purpose to proactively improve disease management, identify gaps in care, improve patient population health and establishes key performance indicators to measure Mercy’s progress against their strategic and operational goals.

Jamie Oswald (@oswaldxxl), associate principle data analysts & Mark Brinley, executive director from Mercy spoke to an interested audience at HIMSS about their IT transformation project.

Mercy integrated all of their patient data from their electronic health record (EHR) system Epic and other data sources into an integrated patient data system. SAP Business Objects was installed to pull and analyze the clinical and operational value from the vast amount of data being pulled. They created an interactive dashboard called, Daily Visit Planner to provide doctors, nurses and  administrators one tool to give them a “one-stop shop” to have one view into patient data. And if there is a need to access an X-ray or a patient’s chart hyperlinks are available.

Seeing the large number of people that attended the session was telling that this is an important topic for healthcare providers and hopefully more are thinking about transforming their data structures to provide improved patient outcomes, consistent care and overall patient satisfaction. Personally, I would reconsider my family’s current physician and hospital if I knew of another doctor using technology to help people receive better care or faster, more precise treatment.  What are your thoughts?  Would you chose to go to another doctor or hospital if they are using technology to have a single point-of-truth about your health?