EMTs collect a lot of data on their trip to the emergency department — and usually, data treating ED physicians will want pretty badly when they see the patient. But in virtually every case, most of that critical info transfer takes place on paper or in a hurried conversation amidst much noise and distraction.
Community medical centers collect as much data on patients as private primary care practices do, but how often are they connected with hospitals — even those that have done a big ambulatory EMR rollout?
And what about blood banks? Independent clinical labs like LabCorp.? School medical offices? Is anyone paying attention to their data, or is it just being ignored?
Look, I don’t mean to be a dunce here. It’s not as though hospitals and medical practices are sitting around buffing their nails and waiting for something to happen, data-connection wise.
But it’s worth remembering, despite the labor involved in hooking up hospitals and primary care practices, that there are data leakage everywhere. Until we look the flow of data more wholistically, whole workflows will be designed as though such relationships didn’t even exist — and that’s a Bad Thing.
I say, start with the EMT data, as it’s the closest to the point of care, but regardless of how you expand your clinical data source map, expand it. Otherwise, you’ll be left with a nasty information design problem and finding a workaround will be a nighmare. Think about it.
(This editorial’s content draws on a speech given by Vivian Funkhouser of Motorola at a trade show held last week by Everything Channel.)
- Health IT Group Tackles Data Exchange (informationweek.com)