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Digitizing Health IT Infrastructure Promotes Value-Based Care

Advancing health IT infrastructure technologies support value-based care by improving workflow and saving organizations money in the long term.

Digitized health IT infrastructure supports value-based care

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- Organizations are digitizing their health IT infrastructures as new technologies are developed and advanced technology becomes more tied to value-based care.

A recent Frost & Sullivan report pointed out that while there have been health IT infrastructure technologies that have not taken in healthcare, it continues to be funded. Organizations are looking into technologies such as blockchain, mobility, analytics, and virtualization to help streamline and consolidate IT infrastructure functions to save time and money.

"What is exciting about digital health is the continued progression of investment, innovation, the change in conversation, and the understanding of old and new stakeholders' needs,” Frost & Sullivan Digital Health Global Program Director Daniel Ruppar said in a statement. “The road for digital transformation in healthcare will be a long one, yet it is one where all kinds of great companies, innovators, payers, providers, and consumers want to be a part of, which shows the promise of this market.”

New drivers and challenges are being met and providers and vendors are working to meet these challenges by advancing the technology being used, according to the report. New benchmarks and standards are being created as clinicians and patients expect more out of healthcare technology.

Entities need to consider their future needs and the demands of users and patients alike to determine which health IT infrastructure technologies need to be explored.

READ MORE: Value-Based Care Depends on Developed Mobile Strategy

AMIA recognizes the need for healthcare organizations to embrace more advanced IT infrastructure solutions for value-based care incentives. It is also necessary to understand the demands of both providers and technology users, the group said.

AMIA states in a paper that significant progress has been made in the digitization of health IT infrastructure. However, many IT environments contain legacy systems that are not designed to support the transition to value-based care.  

“Provider organizations pursuing new models of healthcare delivery and payment are finding that their electronic systems lack the capabilities needed to succeed,” said AMIA. “The result is a chasm between the current health IT ecosystem and the health IT ecosystem that is desperately needed.”

“Both the technologies themselves and the application of those technologies and the data they contain urgently need improvement to support the transition to value-based care.”

Healthcare organizations seeking to lower health IT infrastructure costs over time and improve workflow using IT infrastructure tools need to examine their current IT environment. These entities must also consider how different technologies could potentially fit while meeting user needs.

READ MORE: Value-Based Care Needs Purposeful Health IT Interoperability

Developing mobile strategies is one way organizations can improve workflow and begin to support an advanced health IT infrastructure.

Mobile strategy is significantly impacted by value-based care because mobility allows many different systems to connect and share data, Red Hat Director of Healthcare Craig Klein explained to HITInfrastructure.com in a previous interview.

“Value-based care has a lot of different reporting requirements and to succeed, organizations have a lot of things that need to be connected. Interoperability is one of the most difficult things to do in healthcare,” Klein stated.

“We're seeing more and more need to connect as organizations realize it's the only way they're going to be able to make sure all elements function currently in a value-based care environment is going to be to connect everything.”

Entities are looking for mobile tools to improve workflow and for mobile technology to benefit clinicians as well as patients.

READ MORE: Virtualization of HIT Infrastructure Supports Value-Based Care

“Healthcare organizations are looking to modernize what they're doing in their infrastructure,” said Klein. “They're also looking at how to make themselves more agile. Looking at all the changes that have happened that are happening in healthcare, organizations need to figure out a way to be able to stay as flexible as they possibly can.”

Other infrastructure technology can help organizations remain flexible in the face of value-based care. Mobile devices offer workflow improvement and better patient communication at the point of care, but that’s only one piece of the infrastructure.

Organizations also need to consider how new endpoint technology will impact the rest of the infrastructure and how pursuing more advanced layers will assist mobile technology in being more efficient as it communicates with the data center.

Virtualization is gaining popularity as value-based care works its way through IT infrastructure.  Virtualization allows organizations to eliminate certain hardware costs in the datacenter, as well as give clinicians faster access to the apps they need to treat patients quickly and accurately.

Virtualization solutions are continuing to advance as software-defined infrastructure and hyper-convergence become more common in healthcare.

Virtualized solutions, such as virtual mobile infrastructure (VMI), are poised to take over for traditional EMM solutions because they eliminate security risks brought on by users and unsecure endpoints.

Healthcare organizations must assess their IT infrastructures in the face of future digitization and developments. Adding newer technology to replace existing legacy solutions can help entities better pursue value-based care initiatives.