Collaboration in Healthcare: A Product Manager’s Experience at the HIMSS18 Interoperability Showcase

Posted on behalf of BJ Rosario, CPM, Product Manager
When was the last time you talked about a product not for the sake of making a sale but to genuinely show how it solves real problems in patient care?
This year at HIMSS, I had the privilege of doing just that by being an exhibitor at the Interoperability Showcase, where I represented Summit Healthcare and its Provider Access solution in the Opioid Addiction use case.
Unlike a traditional trade show booth, a use case comprised of multiple healthcare vendors in a single demonstration area, where all the vendors worked together to portray a realistic scenario of leveraging interoperability to provide quality patient care.
Our team’s use case was the story of Taryn Jackson and his struggle with opioid addiction. Throughout the use case, Taryn transitioned from the primary care setting, to the behavioral health provider’s office, care coordination, the pharmacy, addiction relapse, the ER, incarceration, and long-term recovery. At each of these phases, a member of our use case team explained how his or her product integrates with other systems to give Taryn the care he needs. Data exchange was performed in real-time in front of HIMSS attendees.
In this use case, Summit Healthcare’s Provider Access served to empower community providers with access to Taryn’s historical data in an easy, on-demand, yet secure way. Through Provider Access, the community provider was able to view medication reconciliation summary CCDs from Actual Meds, as well as reports queried from the Orion Amadeus HIE via ITI protocols. These HIE stored reports reflect patient data updates from the Epic EHR and all the other vendors upstream. As part of the live demonstration, Provider Access presented a workflow with no mailing, no faxing, no unnecessarily waiting for IT and HIM staff’s approval during the night shift, and none of the risk of granting full, permanent EHR access just for a provider to view a single document.
The Opioid Addiction use case also had a wide variety of VIP attendees: ranging from Director of ONC Donald Rucker, Vermont Governor Phil Scott, and attendees from the Dutch Ministry of Health.
Here are three observations I had from being an exhibitor at the Interoperability Showcase:
1. Collaboration without competition is possible.
In a typical conference, it is common to see vendors compete for attendees’ attention: whether it is through the most elaborate display, strategically selecting the perfect booth location within the exhibition hall, or handing out the trendiest tchotchkes branded with the company’s logo.
For the Interoperability Showcase, competition and the ‘me first’ mentality were cast aside. Rather than putting the spotlight solely on the features of our individual products, our team’s priority was to show how our solutions integrated with one another via interoperability standards. This coordination and
testing required many months of emails and weekly calls, but the result of having eight separate vendor systems communicate live and in real-time at HIMSS was worth the efforts.
2. Continuity of care is a long, varied journey.
The Opioid Addiction use case challenged our team to view the problem not from the individual product level but from the patient’s entire journey: from the moment the patient first experiences symptoms and though all the clinical settings and various episodes as part of continuity of care.
As someone who was not familiar with care coordination for substance abuse prior to being involved in the use case, it was exciting to learn of all the tools and options that existed in modern healthcare that aid in predicting, monitoring, and servicing these patients. These solutions took many forms, from features embedded in the EHR, data queried and updated through the HIE, as well as consumer applications. Overall, it was an opportunity to step inside the patient’s shoes, as well as the provider’s shoes, to visually witness the solutions that exist in the market and how they work.
3. Standards are constantly involving, and software must keep up.
Involvement in the Interoperability Showcase had put an ultimatum on our development team to enhance the product’s compatibility with vendor software that we have not worked with in the past. Thankfully, everyone in our use case was more than willing to work out connectivity issues, clinical data population, and other technical testing.
Additional software development collaboration was made possible through participation in the IHE Connectathon in Cleveland, Ohio last January. Connectathon testing helped ensure that our product was up to date with all the interoperability standards and scenarios emerging in the industry.
Overall, the experience of being involved in the HIMSS Interoperability Showcase was a positive one. I highly recommend the program to any vendor who is looking to more transparently demonstrate how your product improves patient care through interoperability.
A special thanks to all of my new colleagues and co-presenters from the Interoperability Showcase 2018 Opioid Addiction Use Case: @Epic, @Netsmart, @CareEvolution, @ActualMeds, @Appriss, @PatientLink, @OrionHealth.