The ability to share patient data electronically offers healthcare providers tremendous opportunities to improve care coordination, collaboration, and outcomes. Electronic health records (EHRs), however, don’t always tell a patient’s full story; not only can relevant patient data be missing from EHRs, other important information that could inform treatment decisions often don’t even enter the equation.
These gaps in interoperability can create extra work for patients – many of whom are struggling with chronic illnesses and their related stresses even as they have to hunt down files and images to ensure the provider they’re seeing has the right information at the right time.
Irene Stroud was diagnosed about four years ago.
“Throughout it, she has periodically emailed me to say things like, “Why do I have to find 10 releases for 10 different doctors? I have cancer, I want all my doctors to talk to each other,” said Max Stroud, Irene’s sister and a lead consultant with Galen Healthcare Solutions.
Eventually Irene Stroud assembled what Max calls a “cancer tote bag” to ensure that whatever healthcare provider she was seeing had all the relevant and necessary information.
The bag included “everything from medical power of attorney language and health proxy information to her most recent scans, documents that need to be shared, and information about a clinical trial,” said Max Stroud, who is also a HIMSS17 Social Media Ambassador.
Stroud cautioned that technology alone is not enough to handle the patient narrative.
“Patients need more than a portal,” she said. “Real meaningful conversations with patients can bring to light problems you didn’t know you have.”
What’s more, interoperability gaps have an impact on all users of health data but here are differences in the needs of each, which is why Stroud is a proponent of including the patient narrative when evaluating technology solutions.
“I want CEOs who are really thinking about what’s going to come next and how we are going to best serve patients to hear there are ways to incorporate the patient narrative,” she said. “If we put the patient at the center of healthcare, it will be truly disruptive.”
“Don’t You Know Me? Interoperability: A Patient Narrative” is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017 from 2:30 - 3:30 p.m. EST in room 303A.
HIMSS17 runs from Feb. 19-23, 2017 at the Orange County Convention Center.
This article is part of our ongoing coverage of HIMSS17. Visit Destination HIMSS17 for previews, reporting live from the show floor and after the conference.