Case studies of successful interoperability

National Portal for Digital Exchange of COVID-19 Patient Data in The Netherlands

Philips has created an online portal that allows Dutch hospitals to seamlessly share COVID-19 patient information with one another. The portal was developed in cooperation with Erasmus Medical Center (Rotterdam, The Netherlands), Jeroen Bosch Hospital (‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands), and the Netherlands Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS). In the fight against an escalating pandemic like COVID-19, being able to share patient data between hospitals at the “touch of a button” is vital to optimizing the use of healthcare resources. For example, it can assist in the seamless transfer of infected patients between hospitals to avoid local overload in critical care units. Since its launch on March 28, 95 percent of Dutch hospitals have already been connected to the portal for digital exchange of COVID-19 patient data. The new COVID-19 portal, which is available to all Dutch hospitals, is not linked directly to an individual hospital’s EPD (electronic patient dossier), PACS (picture archiving and communication system), or pathology department system. Instead, specific information, such as a patient’s radiology images, reports, and patient summary, is shared via the portal. The information is instantly available to a receiving hospital, provided that the originating hospital and the patient have given their explicit consent.

The safety of medical data exchange remains of the utmost importance, even in times of crisis. As a result, the portal fully complies with the ISO27001 information security standard and the Dutch NEN7510 standard, which is specifically designed for information handling in the healthcare sector. “In this time of crisis, Philips is offering a solution for sharing patient data between hospitals quickly and securely,” said Simon Vermeer, Chief Information Officer (CIO) at the Erasmus Medical Center. “Sharing patient data needs to be done in a secure way, and the current solution is often to send a USB stick or DVD. I am extremely proud that we were able to implement this portal together with the government, Jeroen Bosch Hospital, and Philips in this short term to support care for patients with COVID-19. I would also like to express my gratitude to the teams at all the organizations that have worked hard on this.” Philips Interoperability Solutions built the new COVID-19 portal on top of its existing XDS cloud document sharing service, which allows patient data to be sent digitally in a secure manner. [1]

Geneva, Switzerland – Shared Medication Treatment Plan

The Canton of Geneva Switzerland has built an Electronic Patient Record system aiming at regrouping all important documents for the patient’s care. Documents are provided by all stakeholders. The patient is the owner of the patient record (patient centered). An added-value service exists for 3 years now enabling care providers to manage the medication treatment plan. The goal is to have a complete view of all medications taken by the patient. The ongoing project is to link stakeholders’ applications (prescription systems, dispensing systems, home care systems) directly with the core system in order to avoid any duplication of data entry and to have a true integration of all primary systems with the central shared medication treatment plan tool. [2]

Health Optimum, Veneto, Italy

HEALTHcare delivery OPTIMisation through teleMedicine (HEALTH OPTIMUM) connects 34 community hospitals in the Veneto Region of Italy to seven specialty centers for neurosurgery. Managing more than 2,300 telecounselling requests each year, this system allows three of every four patients to be treated closer to home with the support of family and friends rather than being transferred to a remote tertiary medical center. The HEALTH OPTIMUM network has dramatically reduced the economic, organizational and social costs related to patient transfers while significantly increasing the quality and continuity of care assistance across the region. Sixty percent of cases today can be closed within the first hour and users recently rated their satisfaction with the system as 4.3 out of a possible 5. [3]

Vendor testimonials of successful interoperability

Interoperability is one of the biggest healthcare issues to solve. Vendors and providers are tasked with using technology to freely, but securely, exchange information to create a continuum of care with greater value and less cost for the patient. That is no mean feat, considering the myriad moving parts and largely siloed nature of healthcare.

Two of health IT’s biggest vendors, Epic and Cerner are developing software to help people get well, help people stay well, and help future generations be healthier. Currently Epic has more than 250 million patients with an electronic record. The software is used in Health Care centers, patient’s homes and available on mobile devices. Cerner leads with standards, network connections and nationwide exchange to make data sharing possible with any system regardless of EHR. Cerner connects care organisations to relevant data from many different sources.