SJH Health to knock down data silos

Integration initiative to enable data sharing
By Bernie Monegain
10:39 AM

St. Joseph Health, an integrated healthcare delivery system, with 16 hospitals in California, Texas and New Mexico, will roll out a new health informatics platform, an initiative aimed at putting its data to work.

SJH tapped InterSystems to deploy its HealthShare technology. The goal, according to SJH executives is to engage and connect provider and patient communities to improve health outcomes, inspire and encourage healthy behaviors, and create a successful environment for accountable care.

Like many large healthcare systems, SJH has faced multiple challenges in integrating and sharing data across its many hospitals and continuum of care providers, according to SJH. Implementing and maintaining point-to-point interfaces was becoming a constraint on available technology resources, and this approach was not scalable. Also SJH's legacy integration engine lacked the features and tools to support strategic objectives.

[See also: InterSystems' CMO on interoperability.]

As SJH execs see it, initially, HealthShare will enable SJH to liberate data from data silos throughout the organization and community, build user-centered tools and workflows that improve clinical outcomes, and exceed user expectations while protecting capital and reducing ongoing costs.

"Interoperability is strategic for us, because it will enable SJH to derive value from its data," Bill Russell, the health system's CIO, said in a news release. "HealthShare is enabling the use of a single hub from which data can be collected, aggregated and distributed to any destination."

[See also: Interoperability key to boosting care.]

Russell added that the integration platform would support standardization and consolidation of the SJH electronic medical record along with its interfaces.

The platform "not only supports the integration requirements of a typical health information exchange but also provides a software development environment that SJH and its partners can leverage to build clinical and patient portals, with actionable and innovative workflows that improve the user experience," he added. “This will help us extend our vision to the patient and provider community."

Rapid rollout

Reflecting the high priority placed on achieving its strategic objectives, SJH is moving forward aggressively with the HealthShare implementation. The interface engine used in Texas and New Mexico was replaced last September. The HealthShare-based HIE, which functions as a data aggregation platform, went live in January 2014, and the interface engine in Northern California was replaced in mid-February. The current focus is on going live in Southern California by mid-year.

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