2023 has been a big year for MEDITECH on the interoperability front. We’ve seen the MEDITECH Alliance grow, forging new partnerships to accelerate innovation and fostering interoperable solutions using proven standards; we expanded our use cases within our API infrastructure to support additional real-time APIs; we made Argonaut FHIR SCH APIs available to all Expanse customers to support patient self-scheduling and centralized scheduling; and we launched our new MEDITECH Interoperability and Data Collaborative at MEDITECH LIVE.
The sense of momentum and excitement for more profound forms of interoperability is palpable both in the MEDITECH community and the broader healthcare industry. It certainly was evident at the KLAS Interoperability Summit earlier this month, where I had an opportunity to participate in a panel session with other members of the EHR vendor community.
The resounding theme of that discussion was the desire of the collective community to continue to move interoperability forward. The discussion solidified for me the need to surpass old data-sharing standards.
ADVANCING THE STANDARDS
The evolution of the Continuity of Care Document (CCD) has been important for advancing healthcare interoperability, but CCDs tend to be massive documents that must be read, adding to the already high cognitive burden experienced by clinicians. More targeted queries, powered by FHIR APIs, will allow providers to specify precisely what information they need in the moment — either from a health data exchange or even directly from their system’s EHR to another vendor’s EHR operating at another organization.
This is both exciting and challenging. It’s particularly challenging because these deeper forms of interoperability require much more direct cooperation between vendors — which was one of the critical themes of the event.
Fortunately, cooperation between vendors and other stakeholders in specific interoperability initiatives and projects is increasing. Recently, I heard from leadership at one of our customer organizations, Milford Regional Medical Center, where we worked to establish our context-aware launch functionality to connect them to the Epic EHR at UMass Memorial Health.
This functionality, part of our Traverse interoperability solution, enables providers at Milford to launch into a patient’s UMass chart from their Expanse EHR with the click of a button — no additional authentication is required. UMass providers can do the same, launching directly into a Milford patient’s Expanse chart out of Epic. Access is real-time, fully secure, provider-specific, and view only — ensuring security, privacy, and data integrity.
“This was phenomenal work by all involved,” said Brian Heaton, IS Director at Milford Hospital. “I am impressed with how the four teams — UMass, Milford, MEDITECH, and Epic — worked collaboratively to accomplish this. It’s a great example of how interoperability between EHRs can be achieved.”
This is the kind of cooperation that will drive the crucial next phase of more advanced forms of interoperability.
Another sign that we’re entering a new era of interoperability is the marked uptick in activity taking place in MEDITECH’s Greenfield Workspace. Greenfield provides an open space for vendors to test API integration with our Expanse EHR. Within the Greenfield test environment, vendors are able to prototype and test their products with Expanse, reducing the time and effort required to deploy their interoperable solutions at a customer site.
We’re beginning to see the fruits of our labor with Greenfield in the form of interoperable solutions by third-party solution providers, like Luma Health. Recently Luma used Greenfield to test and validate their solution for MEDITECH Expanse, bringing it live at Northfield Hospital+Clinics (Northfield, MN). It’s now saving staff 80 hours per month in manual reminder calls while reducing no-show rates nearly 15% through automated reminders.
Even more recently, Suki and MEDITECH announced a partnership to leverage the power of generative AI to reduce the administrative burden on clinicians. The result is expected to be a reduction in documentation time of over 70% based on a study conducted by Suki and the American Academy of Family Physicians. Suki’s ambient listening and AI-based note generation capabilities are being developed and tested in the Greenfield environment.
AI AND NATURAL LANGUAGE MODELS
Eventually, AI will be deployed to process large volumes of data and surface important insights from across disparate sources. In this way, we can allow machines to do what they do best — detect trends across large data sets — and enable clinicians to do what only they can do: Use their experience and expert judgment to make informed decisions based on those trends and insights. We’re already beginning to do some of that work through our partnership with Google Health to embed their powerful AI, Natural Language Model and search capabilities into Expanse, allowing clinicians to surface data from legacy platforms, other health systems, labs, specialty care settings, and a variety of additional sources.
There are so many other examples I could share of positive developments and new initiatives at MEDITECH related to interoperability, but suffice it to say that my experience at the KLAS summit provided validation that we’re on the right path and continue to lead and innovate in the arena of EHR interoperability. It’s undoubtedly an exciting time for our company and the industry as we make these deeper connections — between our EHR and other vendor EHRs, and between our company and other organizations developing interoperable solutions that complement Expanse.
As provider and vendor communities come together to set new benchmarks for measuring how we advance interoperability, I’m confident that the MEDITECH community will continue to play a leading role forging these deeper connections.
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