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Healthcare: “Data Are the New Eyes”

“What’s the most effective tool for fighting COVID-19? Is it the ventilator? Personal protective equipment? Medications such as Remdisivir? What could it be?” That was the question Don Woodlock, Vice President of Healthcare Solutions at InterSystems, posed at the outset of his keynote address. As of right now, data is the most important tool we have. Or as Woodlock put it: “Data are the new eyes.” Data helps to improve our understanding of COVID-19 (identifying hotspots and test volumes, etc.) and make the right decisions regarding protective measures (lockdowns, reopenings, testing procedures, and more).

The healthier and more precise that data is, the more transparent and useful it becomes. InterSystems helps its clients to generate “healthy data,” meaning data that is homogeneous, useful, and available where and when it is needed. This is data freed from silo systems, data that is trustworthy and ready-to-use at a moment’s notice, whether it is needed to make decisions or supply algorithms for machine learning, and whether it is gathered from reports or dashboards. Woodlock emphasizes that gathering and normalizing data must, in large part, rely on automated processes; after all, the goal is not to turn everyone into a data analyst. Not to mention that patient health is neither episodic nor transactional. Therefore, information needs to be aggregated and provisioned in a longitudinal format. In 2020, InterSystems was primarily focused on two subjects, FHIR and COVID.

InterSystems has clients located in COVID hotspots around the world, including New York City, Italy, Wuhan, South Africa, South America, Paris, and England. In providing support to its clients as they faced an array of challenges, InterSystems was required to demonstrate its flexibility and adaptability, a response which resulted in six major releases for TrakCare and HealthShare since January 2020. Never before have so many releases been launched in such a short time. The magnitude of this achievement comes into clear focus when considering the six TrakCare and HealthShare products announced by Don Woodlock at the Virtual Summit:

  1. Integration of TrakCare with the Apple Health environment via FHIR interface (API) (currently available for clients in the UK).
  2. Integration of collaboration tools in TrakCare:
    • For telehealth scenarios (doctor-patient interactions): Skype, Attend Anywhere, Google Meet, Teams, and WeChat. Virtual meetings for these services can be generated directly using TrakCare. The individual patient IDs (for example, the Skype ID) are stored in TrakCare like a phone number.
    • Integration of Microsoft Teams for internal communication (e.g., for notifications or alerts).
    • Speech and text-based virtual assistant NORA designed to assist medical professionals almost like a human assistant. For example, a doctor may request that NORA: “Find the lab results for XY.”
  3. The IRIS FHIR Accelerator Service for software developers. This service will be provisioned via AWS starting early next year. App developers can use this service to create an FHIR server within minutes.
  4. The HealthShare CMS Solution Pack. This offer is tailor-made for the new regulatory requirements of the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, which take effect on January 1, 2021. Sponsors and healthcare organizations can use this solution to operate the CMS with ease. In this solution pack, the FHIR interface (API) plays a central role in provisioning patient information (claims data, clinical data, pharmacy benefits data).
  5. HealthShare Health Insight COVID Dashboards templates: risk models, heat maps, syndromic surveillance reports.
  6. Expansion of the HealthShare Managed Connections service offer. With this service, InterSystems connects national health information networks with its clients’ operations. The Commonwell (primarily for Cerner systems) and Careequality (primarily for Epic operations) networks have now been added. HealthShare clients can find information on patients in all these networks, meaning that even if a patient falls ill when they are out of town on vacation, the receiving healthcare facility at that location will be able to access all the information they need.

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