The learning curve in most industries is somewhere around 17 years to go from concept to ingrained best practice. That’s crazy in today’s world. The only way we’ll keep up with the rate of change is to work together to learn and share best practices and applications and develop best practices in weeks or days, not months or years.
HEALTHTECH: Interoperability issues continue to plague the health industry. What do you see as the biggest hurdles to interoperability, and how can health IT evolve to support it?
BRANZELL: Many local environments actually do a great job of sharing information in a fairly ubiquitous way, whether that be through specific software vendors or through exchange systems, like their local health information exchange.
Where interoperability often breaks down is at a macro level. When someone is outside of their normal care environment and two health systems from across the country need to communicate, they often don’t do a very good job. Standards-based and patient-matching issues, communication and transportation — at a macro level, there is still a lot of work to do. It’s hard to know where to start, except to begin by looking at the pain points and setting out to work through them.
HEALTHTECH: How is CHIME seeking to further the role of health IT and data management to help quell the opioid crisis?
BRANZELL: We are well positioned to share best practices and are currently working on a playbook that will share our organizationally based best practices and protocols. But here, again, is another space where working together is going to help us get to the best solutions. The way healthcare has historically worked is, everyone innovates in a vacuum within their organization; but if, for example, Geisinger Health or Anne Arundel Medical Center have already managed to find some solutions, why should everyone else have to start from square one? And, in fact, these two organizations have had an enormous willingness to share the knowledge around their solutions, despite the fact that they did all the work internally.
HEALTHTECH: Cyberthreats continue to be top of mind in healthcare. How can organizations shore up security and create a strong digital culture?
BRANZELL: The truth about cybersecurity in healthcare right now is that it’s just getting worse and worse. With anything else, once you put in some investment, you typically begin to reap some rewards after a time. Cybersecurity, on the other hand, is just a pure defensive play. As soon as you get to one place, the bad guys move somewhere else.
Healthcare organizations focused first and foremost on patient care will never be able to outspend or outmaneuver malicious actors. So, how do you realistically manage in this risk environment? The answer is, you just have to do the best you can with the resources and partners you have.
HEALTHTECH: What advice do you have for healthcare CIOs and IT leaders moving forward?
BRANZELL: We all have to work together to do the best we can. Right now, more than ever, the healthcare community is in this together, and I think for the first time what we’re really going to see is massive gains because we, as an industry, have worked collaboratively.