EHRs and wearables - their time has come?

From the mHealthNews archive
By Eric Wicklund
08:53 am

The recent partnership between Cerner and Validic offers the latest proof that EMR providers are beginning to see value in mHealth data.

In a deal announced March 12, Cerner will integrate Validic's digital health platform into its HealtheLife portal, giving Cerner's EMR clients access – with a patient's consent  to clinical, fitness, wellness and nutritional information.

[See also: Partners Healthcare links mHealth data to its EMR]

The partnership acknowledges the value of patient-generated data collected by mHealth devices to the clinical record, and lends weight to the argument that wellness and fitness information can be important to the healthcare provider.

"The integration of patient-generated data into an EHR or patient portal allows for more initiatives by providers, like telemedicine, remote patient monitoring and incentivized wellness programs," Validic co-founder and CEO Ryan Beckland told mHealth News. "Access to digital health data provides physicians, nurses, clinicians and teams with deep and verifiable insights that really cannot be gained, or necessarily trusted, from manual-entry by a patient. It makes sense for healthcare providers, as well as health IT vendors, that data integration is the next step."

"This actionable data is what is going to revolutionize care," Beckland added, noting that Validic currently synchs with more than 140 clinical and fitness devices. "We already know the success stories: better outcomes, cost reductions, reduced readmissions. Soon, this data is going to become a necessity. But right now, this actionable data provides a competitive advantage."

[See also: Above the EMR: Care teams use the cloud to close gaps]

It's not the first deal between an EMR provider and a digital health company – Allscripts is working with NantHealth and American Well, for example, while Practice Fusion is integrating AliveCor's ECG data  but the Cerner-Validic announcement does push the needle a little bit further toward the consumer-directed health market. And as the medical record begins to incorporate more wellness and fitness data, providers are going to start paying careful attention to wearables and smartwatches.

"As more and more care is being delivered and managed outside the four walls of the hospital, healthcare companies really need verified digital health data to execute these programs successfully," Beckland said. "Everyone in healthcare wants to deliver better value, and everyone wants to stay competitive. Data integration is the way to accomplish this. It powers so many of the healthcare initiatives companies are looking to execute."

Cerner officials see the partnership as a means of adding value for providers.

"It is critical to provide access to actionable data on a regular basis, not just what’s collected when someone goes to the doctor," Brian Carter, Cerner senior director and general manager of personal health, said in a press release. 

Beckland said Validic is working on deals with several EHR vendors, and noted they're coming around to the idea that the medical record needs to evolve.

"EMRs are focused on helping their clients  hospitals, health systems, providers - execute on their strategies around patient engagement and population health management," Beckland said. "Leveraging actionable data from mobile devices just enables them to do this better. And this is really all to the patient's benefit. Providers may reap the benefits of a more efficient and effective healthcare system, but a patient - which everyone is at some point - will have the better experience, better outcome, better costs."