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HealthShare Connections News Flash No.4

October 16, 2020

HealthShare Connections News Flash No.4: COVID-19 Pandemic

From the Desk of Jonathan Teich:

We are now two-thirds of the way through the surreal rollercoaster ride we call 2020, and COVID-19 still dominates the world of health IT, healthcare in general, and much of our lives and livelihoods. In the health IT domain, the focus continues to shift. Businesses and institutions worldwide and schools in much of the Northern Hemisphere are struggling to reopen, aided by faster and more available testing and greater knowledge of how to use syndromic surveillance methods to detect early outbreaks. Large-group data analysis has led to greater understanding of the factors responsible for contagion, serious illness, and response to therapies. Vaccine trials have reached Stage 3 for several candidates, with information technology and data aggregation a vital part of recruiting patients, achieving significant results, and eventually declaring a vaccine safe and effective. Hopefully, it won’t be long before the IT focus turns again to the massive issues of distributing, coordinating, and monitoring the large-scale impact of those vaccines.

Innovation in other areas has flourished as well, despite and sometimes because of COVID-19. Interoperable health IT continues to advance on many fronts. In the US, InterSystems is actively providing solutions for the new federal regulations, allowing patients to access clinical, payment, provider, and drug formulary information with a variety of apps using FHIR APIs. Other new upcoming rules ensure that relevant providers are notified when patients are hospitalized, which has always been a HealthShare feature. National programs and funding opportunities in several countries place increased emphasis on the value of health information exchanges for public health and big data priorities, partly stimulated by their proven value in the pandemic. Clinical laboratories have increased their capacity and have become increasingly linked to regional public health surveillance and monitoring programs. Analytics and machine learning have been used extensively to find new patterns and causal factors for illness, for chronic conditions as well as for COVID-19. Doing all of this properly also requires close attention to consent, third-party app authorization, traffic monitoring, and high data quality, all areas of long-time HealthShare product and implementation focus.

In this issue of HealthShare Connections, we feature a number of customer innovations related to the dramatic health events of 2020. In London, the Coordinate My Care solution to honor end-of-life preferences has had huge new uptake during the pandemic. Nemours Children’s Health System has kept its patient volume up with a 30-fold expansion of its telehealth services. And in New York Healthix has instituted enhanced security measures to better protect patient data in an era of increased cybersecurity threats.

Strange times, difficult times – but the human ability to learn and adapt keeps shining through. We wish you success, happiness, and health in all your professional and personal endeavors.

Jonathan Teich, MD, PhD


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