The COVID-19 outbreak presents an unprecedented challenge to the medical community — and the pandemic has shaken many of the basic functions of society. It has been an inspiration to see healthcare experts and front-line providers maintain their vigilance and professionalism under exceedingly trying conditions.
The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to test modern healthcare in ways never seen before. Physicians and nurses worldwide are being called to service, risking their own well-being to help an alarming volume of ill and worried patients. How we manage this emergency depends largely upon the quality of tools available to help us improve safety for our patient and clinician communities.
These tools include technologies that can help slow the spread of this new, highly transmissible virus through social distancing, allowing us to work with patients to determine the most appropriate venue of care.
Predictions in a field as rife with change as healthcare can be risky, but I’m going to venture out on a limb and say that 2020 will be our industry’s most pivotal year in at least a generation. A year from now I predict we’ll look back at 2020 as the year of interoperability.
Our mission with the MEDITECH Blog is to share new ideas from thought leaders across the health IT industry — and during 2019, we welcomed more than a dozen new authors representing clinical, executive, and media perspectives.
Tell me about yourself and the company.
I took over as president about six months ago. I was previously chief operating officer over operations and primarily development. I am now being reintroduced to a great leadership team that is responsible for our customer experience implementation and client services. We are re-engineering how we look at implementation to improve the physician experience and how we can improve customer experience as we continue to service them moving forward.
Reading about a hospital’s success is one thing, but hearing stories face-to-face with clinicians is something entirely different. I recently visited Halifax Health to hear how MEDITECH Expanse is helping real doctors care for real patients at this busy trauma center and health system.
As physicians, we often don’t see the harm that opioid pain medications can cause to the individual, whether through side effects, dependence, or diversion. Also, we may not always consider the implications on the national scale; prescription drug overdose deaths have increased exponentially from 2013 to 2016. The magnitude of this crisis has led to pain management guidelines from numerous entities, such as the Joint Commission and the CDC. These recommendations provide a solid foundation for opioid stewardship and are now considered to be best practice.
National Recovery Month sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), is observed every September to educate Americans that substance use treatment and mental health services can enable those with mental and substance use disorders to live healthy, rewarding lives.
The rapid pace of change in healthcare today doesn’t just necessitate better technologies to keep pace; it also requires better communication. Whether it involves conversations between patients and physicians, handoffs between clinicians of different specialties, interoperable data exchange, or even the ability of care organizations to connect with their IT vendors - clear communication is often what makes the difference between a good outcome, and a poorer one.