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Clinical Consulting: Data and Device Integration – A Patient’s Right

| Debbie Gregory

Why does it have to be so hard…integrating devices to give clinicians the information they need to deliver optimum care? How many times do I have to sit in meetings and hear, “We don’t integrate with that company?”

Enough is enough! As a nurse, I am beginning to see this impact the delivery of care at the risk and safety of all patients. As the patient’s advocate and as a patient myself, it is our own individual data and we have the right to have it integrated to any device. If my care depends on getting wave forms, critical alarms, vital signs, etc. to my care giver, companies have no right to hold my data hostage to the proprietary software and contractual clauses!

When I use my cell phone and call a friend that uses another carrier, I don’t get a message that says, I’m sorry… you can only talk with people that have the same carrier. The same goes for my data coming from any device that is hooked up to me. It’s my data – companies cannot hold it hostage for their financial gain.

What’s it going to take? A bill before congress? A patient’s right’s protest? A law demanding open source?

So what are steps we can take to get an integrated platform?

  • Develop a functionality matrix for your device and data outcomes before you select your vendors. If vendors are already selected, develop your functionality matrix with your vendors to determine gaps or points of inoperable functionality.
  • Develop a culture and philosophy that vendors should be partners in the care of your patients and select vendors accordingly. You can design the best workflow and care delivery process but if the technology does not support that workflow – you will be frustrated and potentially create extra work or workarounds for staff.
  • Bring vendors together to discuss solutions for those functionalities that are required for your organization. Strongly encourage vendors to work together to create solutions that will help patient care delivery and improve patient outcomes
  • Become involved in the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation. This is a nonprofit organization of nearly 7,000 healthcare technology professionals united to support the healthcare community in the development, management, and use of safe and effective medical technology.
  • Visit the HIMSS Interoperability Showcase this year at the annual conference in Chicago.

It’s time! Enough is enough! You have a heart beat, a blood pressure, a lab value…do you want someone holding that data hostage if you are in a medical crisis? Let’s take a stand together for our families, for our patients and for ourselves. LET MY DATA GO!

This is an important time in the advancement of our Healthcare Delivery System. Technology can be a hindrance…or a solution to improve and transform our healthcare care system for the future. Become a leader that is informed, educated in current practices, and an advocate for your patient’s data.