February 21, 2019

HIMSS19 Takeaway: Interoperability is Key to Creating Exceptional Patient Experiences

5 minute read



Last week, I was present as HIMSS19 took over Orlando with thousands of healthcare providers and technology professionals converging to discuss innovation and emerging technologies in healthcare. The excitement around the newly unveiled information blocking rule has increased the push for vendor interoperability and while the healthcare industry is certainly rife with legacy technology, sensitive data, and bureaucracy, it is on the precipice of monumental change. In recent years, we’ve seen hospitals and healthcare facilities taking small steps towards holistic digital healthcare delivery, and after such an exciting week at HIMSS19, I expect we’re going to see them take bigger strides towards a healthcare landscape which has fully embraced innovation and is well on its way to harnessing the power of the Internet of Things (IoT).

Interoperability is Key to Great Patient Experiences

Bit by bit, indoor mapping and the IoT are changing the way we access healthcare. Taking cues from the hospitality industry, hospitals and healthcare networks are increasingly adopting customer service principles in order to improve their HCAHPS scores by treating patients like guests and applying consumer-focused models to healthcare delivery. This is the start of an exciting transition for healthcare. However, before we can see a true removal of patient friction at scale, the building blocks for technology to be able to deliver these kinds of experiences must be put in place. Based on the process we are seeing to date, this coming year will be one of incremental steps towards the most important piece of the requisite technology puzzle: interoperability.

The systems used to deliver medical records, hospital navigation, and queue management need to be able to talk to each other before healthcare facilities can deliver frictionless patient experiences. The first step on the path to delivering this type of interoperability is somewhat dependent on large players in the EHR/EMR space and the need for them to expand their ecosystems to collaborate with other technologies. All major components in the healthcare journey need to have an open architecture, as health delivery models will inextricably be tied to the customer service aspect of the patient journey in the future. Unfortunately, there is a lot of work yet to be done to get these systems talking to each other.

As we achieve interoperability between technology vendors, we’ll start to see more patient pain points being addressed. “Can I schedule an appointment? Then can I check in on my phone? How do I get to my appointment room?” It’s going to take more than a year for many use cases to be addressed at scale in a meaningful way, but the healthcare industry is chipping away at it.

We’re already seeing some great strides by organizations like Lee Health with their “Hello Patient” app for their new Coconut Point facility which uses indoor wayfinding technology to “route the guest to Lee Health Coconut Point and then to specific offices, track[ing] progress to arrival – eliminating wait time.” Another great example is Kaleida Health’s award-winning “MyKaleida” app, which “lets you discover Kaleida Health locations and services, search for health care providers, find your way, get a quick view of current ER wait times, reference patient and visitor information, securely pay your bill, and access the MyKaleida patient portal” all within the app.  Once the EHR and EMR platforms become mobile-accessible and interoperable, a world of opportunities will open up.

IoT will be instrumental in removing unnecessary friction from the patient experience once effective interoperability has been achieved. Common frustrations around parking, checking in for appointments, and navigating queues can start to be addressed at scale. Other use cases hospitals are starting to pursue using real-time location systems include queue management, asset and status tracking for wheelchairs and medical equipment, proximity messaging, and facilities management. The ways that the IoT is changing how we access healthcare is exciting and overdue, but it’ll take a village of vendors playing nicely with each other to get to the point where we can make meaningful change at scale.






Chris Wiegand

With a track record of success in both business growth and business transformation, Chris Wiegand has dedicated his career to discovering and creating business opportunities that address real-world needs. In 2009, Chris co-founded indoor mapping company Jibestream, and led its incredible growth from an idea to a globally recognized leader in the indoor mapping space. Chris joined the Inpixon team in 2019 with Inpixon’s acquisition of Jibestream, where he continues to be a leading voice in the indoor intelligence space, driving success for the company’s indoor intelligence solutions.

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