Think Tank | Coordinated Care: Thoughts from the InterSystems Global Summit

by Marlowe Greenberg, CEO

For the past three years I have attended the InterSystems Global Summit. For those of you unfamiliar, InterSystems is the leading software provider for connected care, enabling information exchange and active analytics across hospital networks, communities and regions. The Global Summit is a gathering of techies and healthcare policy leaders from around the world. InterSystems structures the events so that the more technical attendees are on one track and those of us more interested in policy and healthcare generally are in a separate Healthcare Leadership track. I attended sessions with topics ranging from Health Information Exchanges, talking about the triumphs and tribulations of gathering large amounts of data from across the healthcare spectrum, to a single hospital system discussing the enormous challenges they face around internal interoperability.

Foothold Technology’s role at these Summits is always a little bit tangential. Technically, of course, it is clear that our participation enables us to keep up with changes made to our interoperability platform and learn new and better ways to enable our customers’ sharing of data. But in the Leadership track, the discussion is much more about understanding all the different ways people are trying to use healthcare data. Indeed, the overriding theme of the Healthcare Leadership Conference this year was the difficulty and profound importance of sharing healthcare data across the care continuum. Over and over again, presenters discussed the manifold ways they were beginning to use their cache of healthcare data and all the ways they thought it could be useful in the future. It was one of the few rooms I’ve been in where it was clear to all that there is no way to increase the quality of care while decreasing the cost of care without also sharing data between healthcare providers.

However, very few of the presenters had thought of, or were working with, Behavioral Health providers. For many of them, “coordinated care” means only coordinating the various providers of physical healthcare. Most participants expressed astonishment at the idea that Foothold, working exclusively with Behavioral Health, Mental Health and DD, and Substance Abuse providers, was even able to share data through HL7 or C-CDA formats. And yet, all expressed interest in accessing such data and putting it use to help improve care across the continuum. Primarily, this is because everyone sees the payment models changing. The success of a given healthcare organization will increasingly depend on their ability to arrange coordinated care between different providers and create value by offering the right service at the right time at the lowest cost. Increasingly, the healthcare world will begin to realize this means providers like the agencies in the Foothold community.

The shifts in healthcare that we saw coming years ago, as we began the process of implementing a professional interoperability platform, are finally starting to manifest themselves. Yes, many of us are still stuck using homemade databases in their health home, or reporting to state and city systems through excel, or sharing care plans via PDF, but the professionalization of interoperability is coming, true coordinated care demands it. Foothold is ready, and our clients will soon be able to demonstrate how integral they really are to the future of healthcare.