Geisinger moves to mobilize its EHR platform

From the mHealthNews archive
By Bernie Monegain
01:03 pm

Pennsylvania's Geisinger Health System has moved one step closer to a mobile-optimized electronic health record.

Geisinger and xG Health Solutions, a company founded by Geisinger to commercialize the health system's technology, used a new draft standard developed by international standards organization Health Level Seven to connect a rheumatology app to interact with its Epic EHR. By using the HL7 draft standards, Geisinger and xG Health Solutions have successfully exchanged clinical data in real-time within the Cerner EHR framework.

Company officials anticipate enabling apps to work in a similar fashion with all EHRs.

This new "app approach" to augmenting EHR functionality has the potential to transform the delivery of healthcare by giving providers access to analyses of information that resides outside and/or inside the EHR, as well as decision support, regardless of the underlying EHR platform, Geisinger officials said.

Geisinger and xG Health Solutions used an approach developed with grant support from the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the National Coordinator's Strategic Healthcare IT Advanced Research Projects, known as SHARP – more specifically, the open-source Substitutable Medical Apps, Reusable Technologies (SMART) Platform.

This Web-based interoperable container and the corresponding HL7 Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources, or FHIR, interface can exchange information in real-time with any SMART-on-FHIR-enabled EHR.

"Over the past 18 years, Geisinger has programmed a broad spectrum of workflow facilitation and clinical decision support into our electronic health record and into software applications that operate outside of our EHR, but communicate with it," said Geisinger President and Chief Executive Officer Glenn Steele Jr., MD, in a press statement. "Until now, Geisinger EHR-related innovations that improve quality, increase efficiency and reduce the cost of care have not been available to other healthcare delivery systems. This pilot program shows there is now a way to do that."

The app-based approach developed by Geisinger extracts data from an EHR and presents information in user-friendly views to clinicians together with clinical decision support.

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Geisinger officials say this will enable innovative types of workflow facilitation and clinical decision support to operate on top of any SMART-on-FHIR-enabled EHR to improve the quality, efficiency and cost-effectiveness of healthcare.

HL7 CEO Charles Jaffe, MD, is bullish on FHIR, telling Healthcare IT News (a sister publication of the HIMSS Media Group) in a recent interview that FHIR is a "game-changer" because it "represents a departure from the notion of messaging and document-centric ideas."

As Jaffe sees it, "FHIR is such a significant advance in accessing data, delivering data and the enormous, enormous flexibility inherent in the model. FHIR doesn't specify the content; FHIR specifies what we mean by the content."

(Editor's note; This story first appeared in Healthcare IT News, a sister publication of mHealth News and part of the HIMSS Media Group).