It takes an ecosystem to drive clinical collaboration

Uma Murty

Solving the collaboration challenges that providers face today is not easy by any stretch of the imagination. Healthcare systems must tackle the burdens that chronic disease, aging demographics, reform policies, and clinician shortages are placing on system resources.  At the same time, the degree of complexity in delivering care is growing significantly. And through all of this, providers are looking for better ways to collaborate to maximize the use of varied and scarce resources in order to help deliver better outcomes.

Unfortunately, the prevalence of siloed, proprietary systems makes it challenging for physicians and care teams to collaborate effectively.  Cloud based solutions offer the potential to help break up these information silos by enabling improved data access and visibility. A variety of cloud-based solutions that offer image/data exchange and real-time communications are already available to help streamline the clinical collaboration. However, the majority of these are point solutions designed to solve a specific problem. Users of these point solutions are limited to the capabilities and technology tools offered by that solution.

Given the complexity of healthcare operations today, we do not need more isolated point solutions.  Rather, what we need is a robust healthcare ecosystem that offers access to a variety of complementary applications and services, which can be accessed on-demand through a single platform. Such a platform is critical to enabling the development of a broad ecosystem.

The ideal healthcare ecosystem shouldinclude patients, healthcare providers, payers, application providers, medical device equipment manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, technology infrastructure providers, social networks, standard bodies, and policy makers.

Such an ecosystem should scale and deliver the varying needs – ranging from patient engagement, multi-disciplinary care team collaboration, insightful analytics to affect diagnostic accuracy, financial management, payer communications, to name a few.

In summary, enabling a robust healthcare ecosystem offers distinct advantages to users that no one vendor alone can provide through a single point solution.

  • Seamless access to complementary applications and services from ecosystem partners
  • Richer data sources through integration of partner applications
  • Deployment flexibility through establishment of multiple network and connectivity partners
  • Access to a larger, more robust clinical community for collaboration through partnerships with healthcare institutions/providers

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