Benefits for health record providers
Whether the design is mobile-first or a portal, health record providers have to develop solutions tailored to their target group in order to make electronic patient records a reality. While the classic IHE web services are a good tool for communicating with records systems in service provider networks and hospitals, communicating with patients via apps and portals requires a different technological base. Linking to user interfaces via modern (REST-based) FHIR interfaces simplifies development and reduces the demands on the systems being integrated. This means that a native app can be implemented just as easily as a web application.
The ICW eHealth Suite includes dedicated modules for areas like user onboarding and app integration, and supports exchange of documents, image data, and structured data. By combining these modules, providers can quickly create an interoperable base for their patient records. Using an advanced and thoroughly tested records infrastructure gives providers more time to implement specific use cases, value-adding services, and unique features.
Benefits for patients
Patients want to access their record via a self-chosen user interface. The provider should supply suitable applications and apps for doing so, but at the same time, patients might also like to interact with the record using apps from other manufacturers. For example, data from a step-counting app should be accepted just the same as blood glucose values from a meter.
Although it is seldom the case that patients actively demand that their health record offer standard interfaces to clinical systems, they do expect a functional data exchange with all the service providers involved. Patients are no longer willing to re-enter data that already exists in digital form. Therefore, ICW’s solution offers standards-compliant interfaces that have been coordinated with the manufacturers of the most commonly used hospital and physician information systems.
Once a record has been populated with a significant amount of data, its value grows, but so do the patient’s demands in terms of access control. A patient record that makes large amounts of information available to various medical providers needs a powerful system for granular control over authorizations. With their comprehensive, completely customizable authorization system, the ICW modules satisfy the highest demands of patients as well as legal conditions.
„Service providers cannot rely on black-box solutions — they must be able to provide independent proof of patient consent.“
Benefits for service providers
In order to integrate with current and future record systems, service providers need standards-compliant integration solutions that can flexibly receive and supply data. The ICW eHealth Suite modules have the ability to mediate between the technologies and concepts commonly used in the inpatient sector and their equivalents in various records systems. This means that data from hospital information systems can be supplied to both IHE XDS-based and FHIR-based records systems without a hitch via HL7v2 messages. Similarly, data from the records system can be supplied to the hospital systems for specific situations, e.g. automatically at admission or manually upon request.
With the ICW solutions, communication between records systems is not limited to documents. Structured data can also be transferred to the record, either via the appropriate FHIR resources or as a structured document. The software can generate machine-readable CDA documents from information shared within the hospital (such as diagnoses, allergies, lab results, etc.) and integrate them into the patient record. This makes it possible to implement important use cases, such as data-driven discharge management, without major additional costs.
A flawless, data protection-compliant process is extremely important, particularly when it comes to providing medical data. Service provider organizations cannot rely on black-box systems from a vendor — they must be able to provide independent proof that particular patients have consented to transfer of their medical data. The ICW eHealth Suite modules make it possible to do this in a way that is consistent and independent of the various records system concepts. If the IT systems have already implemented flexible consent management, it can be checked against the associated records system automatically prior to data transfer. However, the system also offers user interfaces that enable staff to document their patients’ consent status.
For patients who like to be actively involved, ICW also offers completely patient-controlled consent management. For example, a patient can be given a linkage code in the hospital, which they can use to state their consent to various data transfer processes via a web interface. Any additional information needed in order to link to the various records systems can also be entered directly by the patient at that point. The interface of course allows patients to configure transfers to records systems, but also gives them the option of exercising their rights to access and export their data under the GDPR. When technically savvy patients are directly involved, the hospital can not only save on administrative costs connected with consent management, but also take the first steps toward digital patient services (see Perspectives No. 2).