The patient-data pipeline: The missing link in healthcare IT systems
Part of today’s complexity in healthcare stems from the way our healthcare IT systems have emerged. There are multiple entry points for patients into the healthcare system, from a relationship with a primary care physician to the sporadic, disconnected and random interaction with emergency departments, urgent care and wellness clinics.
Based on current technology and the overall nature of the beast, it is highly doubtful that a single point of entry into the healthcare delivery system will ever occur and is actually less important than the quality and cost of the care delivered. The key is the understanding of how patients’ data flows through healthcare IT systems and building an infrastructure that optimizes that flow of data and information.
Widespread implementation of electronic health records, institutional or personal, was initially believed to connect the various interacting providers and patients in the healthcare web. However, it was quickly realized that EHR’s alone would not be able to collect and store health data while at the same time establishing a pipeline through which this data would flow between all stakeholders, including patients.