I have always believed that for IT systems across healthcare organisations to truly become interoperable and share information effectively at a regional level, we must follow the right formula. Not only do the hospital’s clinical applications need to be configured to meet the required open standards, but equally important is that the same principles of sharing, joint development and openness need to be embraced by the technical support teams and front-line clinical users such as doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals.
Only at this point can we create the right support and services to underpin the technology and create a true open ecosystem, covering not only the technical components and models, but also the services and support functions needed for a hospital to operate successfully.
When I write a review of my experience at a restaurant, it is based half on the food I have eaten and the rest on my interaction with the restaurant and the service I experienced. Where openEHR based platforms are putting more control into the hands of front-line workers, such as allowing them to choose how information can be captured, their whole experience improves. Success will not only be driven by the data output they receive, but by the technical support they are given and the training provided to ensure they are confident in using the technology.
This makes it critically important that the whole end to end journey is thought of to show what the digital platform can achieve. OpenEHR is starting a journey of changing the way our support teams look at what is critical in service delivery and where the teams’ focus and efforts should be directed.
Ensuring service and providing a reliable and safe platform for the different applications, whether it’s a full patient record or medication levels, remains the core requirement of a strong service model. The open based approach to clinical applications is allowing us to explore how we can more effectively support new incidents and changes. This can be achieved through the efficiencies created in standardisation, but even more critically by exploring the whole experience around the applications for the healthcare professionals, thinking not so much ‘what’ but rather ‘who’ needs support.
As a large Systems Integrator, at CGI we have long had a passion for pulling information together. This entails helping proprietary based vendors and organisations integrate and share the business critical information within applications and enhance how end users see the overall data. To this end, the move towards openEHR is a story that not only builds on work already undertaken, but is bringing with it the opportunity for support teams to influence how the system is viewed by the people using it on a daily basis.
When fully embraced and implemented, the open approach enables the rapid and safe change of applications within your environment and a more simplified integration approach to digital transformation. These elements alone ensure time saved for support teams and the availability of re-investment back into the wider ecosystem. Investment not into the ‘what’ of technology alone but joint development with the ‘who’, the user community, fashions a single approach to achieving the best data output and subsequently more informed analytical decision making in clinical teams.
Getting alongside the individuals using the systems to train and equip them in the tooling and jointly working with them to ensure that the data output from the platform fits their needs will empower the end users. It will also improve engagement from a personal perspective and a responsiveness that shows an understanding of specific patient care needs. The focus now turns to longevity of digital transformation and empowerment of front line staff to not only embrace but also own the drive for digital change. As we are already beginning to see, this naturally encourages agility in how the platform is supported and how the service teams work and interact with the clinical teams.
More freedom to develop and configure via an ecosystem of users working on the platform and best practise for usability will reduce the requirement for training and deliver the right support response and supervision. This evolving model of support is creating a light at the end of the tunnel. It moves us away from being solely focussed on technology incidents towards a support environment driving togetherness which gives front line workers the confidence they need to get the best out of the platform.
A service that is engaging and easy to use, which effectively equips the individuals who use the technology regularly means that they feel ownership and control, which is the start of the OpenSERVICE model. Front line workers who may have their own bespoke requirements are able to analyse the data output for patients in their care and be confident in its accuracy and relevancy to their daily tasks. Together with the knowledge that they are backed up by a service team driven by the same desired outcome, it is a winning formula, and one I am excited to see grow.