Cooperation is becoming increasingly important in healthcare. As the general life expectancy increases, people rely on healthcare and available resources more and more. Conversely, there is a severe shortage of healthcare workers. This means that healthcare facilities face the challenge of having to provide more care with fewer people and at lower rates. Digitally exchanging medical data from the patient record plays an important role in this issue.
Healthcare facilities are expected to offer care services close by where possible and further away if necessary. This means that healthcare facilities no longer offer all care services under a single roof, but that they specialise in specific kinds of services and closely cooperate with fellow organisations that (also) provide other kinds of services.
Access to patient records
In order to optimise that cooperation, healthcare facilities need to be able to digitally access patient records or parts of patient records and share these records with other facilities if necessary for the treatment. These facilities welcome the support of smart IT that helps healthcare professionals, improves the efficiency of care processes, and gives the patient more control over their care.
Healthcare providers will more often refer and transfer patients to each other, provide care at a distance, and consult with each other. In order for these processes to go smoothly, it is vital that relevant information from the patient record is directly available in the hospital that the patient is referred to. It is also important that this hospital is able to view the findings and treatment from the previous hospital in real-time. Therefor, healthcare solutions for interoperability are key.
Optimisation of regional cooperation
Correct coordination of data exchange between care facilities improves regional cooperation. A great example of this is the cooperation in the Dutch provinces of South Holland and Zeeland, where prominent care facilities collectively work together to improve healthcare. Just like forty hospitals in the rest of the Netherlands, the care facilities in South Holland and Zeeland use HiX Digital Health Services to exchange information with each other.
'When care providers exchange patient data, patient care improves and becomes cheaper and faster. The step we took is important for cooperation between physicians and nurses of the participating organisations. This way, we work towards healthcare improvement in the greater Rotterdam area.'
David Voetelink, vice-chair of the Executive Board of the Erasmus MC hospital in Rotterdam.
14 October 2019
A healthcare group, consisting of several healthcare organisations in The Netherlands, stepped up and decided to improve their collaboration using our solutions for data exchange and interoperability.
Our solutions for data exchange
We have developed various solutions for the above-mentioned challenges. These solutions improve the interoperability between various IT systems. Our solutions are based on and comply with international open standards, which improves and speeds up data exchange. A short explanation of the concepts that are part of digital data exchange:
HiX Digital Health Services
HiX Digital Health Services is a secure service that offers comprehensive support for transmural cooperation and operability in healthcare. HiX Digital Health Services supports patient referrals and transfers, shared care, monitoring each other's patients, receiving them for consultations, and healthcare at a distance.
HiX Digital Health Services offers every healthcare institution the possibility of exchanging information among other healthcare institutions, eHealth applications and patients.
Transmural portal and Transmural live report
HiX Digital Health Services allows physicians to use the Transmural portal and Transmural live report. Physicians can use this portal to access the care provider portal (including PACS) of another hospital from their familiar HiX environment in a user-friendly and secure way. The Transmural live report allows physicians to access data in the records of other care facilities that use HiX, without having to leave the live report in their own patient record.
Referrals to partner facilities
It is also possible for cooperating healthcare facilities to refer patients within a specific course of treatment. This is a solution for situations in which multiple facilities work together on a single treatment: one hospital, for example, conducts diagnoses and a partner hospital is responsible for the aftercare and check-ups.
Exchange between various patient records
As both HiX and HiX Digital Health Services are based on international standards, they can communicate with other systems that are also based on these standards, which allows systems to function transparently. This means that EHRs from different software suppliers can share medical data with each other, as is the case already in the province of Friesland, where Tjongerschans hospital and the Leeuwarden Medical Centre work together and exchange data between HiX and the EHR made by EPIC.
Data-sharing with PHE
Patients can use their personal health environment (PHE) to collect, manage, and determine with whom they want to share their medical data. Patients can also add information themselves, such as a diary for symptoms and self-measurements. HiX allows hospitals to share all these data in a secure and structured way.
HiX Digital Health Services is a certified health IT system
HiX Digital Health Services is a health IT system that serves to connect one or more care providers on to the so-called MedMij network. This MedMij connection is necessary to enable communication between the EHR of a healthcare organisation and the patient's PHE. As a certified system, HiX Digital Health Services provides the service to safely exchange data online between organisations that use HiX and all MedMij-certified PHE, which gives patients more control over and insight into their own healthcare.
Rapid development and innovation
Digital data exchange is rapidly developing, in part because it is stimulated by the Dutch government. New parties or services frequently join HiX Digital Health Services, causing both the quantity and the quality of the available patient data to grow exponentially.
This growth not only allows healthcare professionals to have access within their own EHR to more and more findings of colleagues from other healthcare facilities, it also stimulates the rapid development of innovative healthcare processes that ease the workload of healthcare professionals. An example of this the way that at-home monitoring is enabled: information is sent from apps, through HiX Digital Health Services, to the EHR.
Links with Digital Health applications
HiX Digital Health Services allows full integration of eHealth applications in HiX, so that patients can use these applications to gain more control over their healthcare. Physicians may prescribe an app, for example, that the patient can use to keep the physician informed about certain values, such as blood pressure or heart rate. It is possible to set these apps to automatically notify the physician in HiX when the values exceed a certain threshold and more or urgent care is needed. Some examples of healthcare applications that have connected with HiX Digital Health Services are: Luscii, Safe@Home, BeterDichtbij, ZorgDomein, BabyConnect, Novacair, HINQ, MijnMitz and TWIIN.
An overview of several applications that are linked to our platform. The number of healthcare applications grows continuesly.
In order to give physicians safe and easy access to the information from the various healthcare applications, Single Sign-On is used, so that they only have to log in once. We provide an integration with Active Directory and the SAML federation for this. Other methods that we use to guarantee data security are DigiD, UZI, links with biometric authentication systems, and the integration of Mitz as an authentication platform.
Subsidy and national programmes
Our solutions allow healthcare facilities to take part in national programmes, such as the Dutch MedMij programme for data exchange between hospitals and PHEs, and the OPEN programme that supports GPs in making information available online for patients. In addition, we help hospitals, pharmacies, and mental healthcare institutions with subsidy programmes and support them in designing experimental environments like eOverdracht.
Together with our clients, other software suppliers, and the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, we assess every initiative or programme on its usefulness and feasibility. The primary focus of the assessment is creating solutions that help patients, physicians, and nurses, and the secondary focus is on subsidies: sustainability is given priority. We can connect healthcare organisations that wish to participate in such programmes to HiX Digital Health Services and to the desired programme.
'We believe that further digitisation can contribute to better healthcare: it can improve patients' experiences and it can save time and money. This is an improvement for healthcare.'
Christaan Boer, Commercial Director of Bergman Clinics
In the end, patients are the ones who benefit the most from digital data exchange. If they give permission to share data through HiX Digital Health Services, they can rest assured that their care providers have access to complete and up-to-date information. Furthermore, digital data exchange allows them to view their own medical records and to gain more control over their care and treatment. This will result in the best, most effective, and efficient healthcare.
'Ask your patient for permission to share data right now.'
Mark Friebel, CMIO of Albert Schweitzer Hospital