The promises of healthcare nirvana are by now familiar: continuity of care, physician collaboration, patient engagement, value over volume, and of course cost-effectiveness.
What may not be so familiar is the culprit that makes those ideals so hard to achieve, an underlying problem that causes persistent, systemic issues for every stakeholder in healthcare—the blocking of information.
Chris Craft, CEO and founder of ScriptSender, describes it this way: “Interoperability—getting data flowing between different systems—has always been a challenge. Doctors especially want the best patient care possible, with fast turnaround times, and they know that information has to be shared to achieve that.”
Traditionally, organizations relied on VPNs and HL7 interfaces to enable information exchange between systems. That option, according to Craft, is reserved for select groups that have the resources to code and manage those interfaces. “It can take months to integrate sometimes, and that isn’t acceptable. Plus you then have to manage it—monitor error logs and make adjustments. For small- or even medium-sized groups who don’t have a team for that, an outside consultant and interface engine is required, which means a substantial investment just to connect to a small percentage of their referring base. With referring doctors, only the largest groups are big enough to have dedicated IT staff to assist with the build and maintenance of HL7 interfaces. What about everyone else?”
Those who can make the investment do so because of the benefits that come with interoperability. Being able to communicate quickly with even a portion of their referring physicians has a bottom-line impact on their business—and delivers the other benefits like care quality and strong collaboration.
But Craft and his team at ScriptSender have found a way to deliver those benefits without the complexities and cost of IT integration. By leveraging a printer driver native to the operating system, ScriptSender allows users to transmit orders, clinical notes, lab results, prescriptions, and any kind of patient information in one click.
“Patients don’t have to wait for a CD or DVD of images, because we can give them fast access to their own medical information.”
— CHRIS CRAFT
“We can work alongside HL7, if that’s in place, or integrate directly,” said Craft. “Our technology is bi-directional, so we can send reports back with a link to radiology images, or allow physicians to view images in our own Image Viewer and even export them to another system. We’ve developed a whole portfolio of modules that do much more than traditional, expensive interfaces do.”
Patients are part of the solution. “Patients don’t have to wait for a CD or DVD of images, because we can give them fast access to their own medical information,” Craft explained. “Plus, we’re giving referring physicians the option to send patients to the best imaging provider or orthopedist or lab that can serve the patient. What’s most convenient? Does that provider have the latest equipment? What’s most affordable? Those are important questions in this climate of high-deductible plans. Referrers don’t have to make the referral decision based on which provider has a VPN and interface with them. It’s based on true care quality.”