Friday 13 November 2015
Reading Time: 3 minutes
For those of you who don’t know – EHI Live is the UK’s largest digital health exhibition aimed at eHealth professionals who have a vested interest in information within healthcare. Its purpose – to bring together eHealth professionals to engage and encourage debate around particular trends and topics spawning from the area of health informatics.
To realise this goal, speakers and delegates from a range of different professions within healthcare came together to give their perspective on a variety of different topics around health informatics.
This year was the first time that Connexica exhibited at the event and it was great to see like-minded individuals placing such importance on deriving value from data. I attended as many of the conferences as I could and have trawled through my notes to provide my key takeaways from this year’s event to anyone who missed it.
The Start of Health 3.0 – an interactive approach to the patient record
An interesting theme that I noticed develop over the two days was the concept of Health 3.0. This follows on from the introduction of the semantic web or Web 3.0, pioneered by Tim-Berners Lee to realise a new World-Wide Web built on principles improving the way users can interact with information. These principles are now applicable to the evolution of the delivery of healthcare services.
In a similar vein to Web 3.0 principles, Health 3.0’s focus is on personalising the experience of the patient. To achieve this, patients will be encouraged to take a more active role in contributing to and maintaining their digital health record.
A wealth of information can be obtained through web generated data that would be useful for clinicians when looking up patient records. An example of this is the information generated through social media – this information is in the form of posts, check-ins, photos and other data.
Combining this data with that which could be gathered through proper collation of the application generated information such as IoT (Internet of Things) leaves a mass of real-time dynamic data that could be effectively used by clinicians to better understand the causes of diseases and conditions.
Big Data for Predictive Analytics
It feels like we’ve been bringing up big data for years now… and it’s fair to say that we have! It still proves to be a key topic for discussion because of the significant challenges that it poses combined with the inherent value provided upon realising an information environment with successful use of big data.
Further advances into healthcare have seen the adoption of wearable technology and remote patient monitoring devices alongside others, increasing the amount of data available to clinicians. The theory goes that by having a larger quantity of available data it should yield a higher level of analysis – predictive, trend tracking, disease prevention, etc., and ultimately increasing the quality of care. The challenge now for the NHS is how they implement a successful strategy to capture, integrate and analyse this new information.
The key challenges mentioned in the conferences throughout both days revolved around a lack of standardisation of NHS software, a lack of information governance and a lack of staff training. Whilst I can agree with a lack of information governance and a lack of staff training highlighted as challenges, should the goal be to standardise NHS software?
Surely the goal should be to implement the best software solution possible and to ensure that it is able to communicate and share its information between other systems on the same network – to be interoperable.
Interoperability – the Key to Preventative Healthcare
Interoperability – defined as the ability of health information systems to work together within and across organisational boundaries in order to advance the effective delivery of healthcare for individuals and communities.
It sounds like a great goal in an ideal world! Is it achievable? We think so! We make a big fuss about the importance of unifying data here at Connexica and it was a positive for us to see how important eHealth professionals regard data unification and interoperability to be.
All healthcare software suppliers should now be designing their solutions to work with and pass data to other solutions as part of a wider information system environment instead of one where systems and – most importantly – data are siloed.
This was reflected in the conferences that transpired during the day. Interoperability was either highlighted in each talk or served as its main theme. Of the latter, I attended Adrian Byrne’s conference discussing interoperable EPR. A key thought presented in the conference that stood out to me was “making the easy thing, the right thing” rather than “doing the right thing, not the easy thing”.
What is the point of doing the right thing if the time taken to develop, test, implement and maintain it is so long that it far outweighs the value it provides? The right thing should be the easy thing. And at Connexica this is what we endeavour to deliver – a solution that makes the right thing, the easy thing.