This January BridgeHead Software will participate in the MUSE 2015 Executive Institute, which will focus on the topic: “Achieving an Interoperable Health IT Infrastructure.”  Much of the upcoming conference will key off of a recent paper from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC): “Connecting Health and Care for the Nation: A 10-Year Vision to Achieve an Interoperable Health IT Infrastructure,” which describes the ONC’s broad vision and framework for interoperability.

We asked Michael Ball, senior vice president, North America, BridgeHead Software, how he thinks the BridgeHead Healthcare Data Management (HDM) platform lines up with the ONC’s interoperability objectives.

What does BH think of the ONC’s vision for an Interoperable Health IT framework?

BridgeHead Software is right in step with the ONC objective of an “interoperable health IT infrastructure.” In fact, the ONC objective is actually a synthesis of ideas from other sources.

On page 9, the report explicitly says, “ONC will also work toward flexible and dynamic technical tools to support interoperability for primary and secondary use of health information, such as the architecture described in the JASON report A Robust Health Data Infrastructure prepared for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.”

BridgeHead has already embraced both the Jason report and its eight guiding principles for an architecture for the exchange of health information. We’ve been working to incorporate these core principles into the BridgeHead HDM platform:

  • Be agnostic as to the type, scale, platform, and storage location of the data;
  • Use public APIs and open standards, interfaces, and protocols;
  • Encrypt data at rest and in transit;
  • Separate key management from data management;
  • Include with the data the corresponding metadata, context, and provenance information;
  • Represent the data as atomic data with associated metadata;
  • Follow the “robustness principle”: be liberal in what you accept and conservative in what you send;
  • Provide a migration pathway from legacy EHR systems.

This lines up with the ONC report’s principals and strategies for accelerated Health Information Exchange or HIE. BridgeHead is excited that the ONC is coming around to its way of thinking.

If data management is at the core of interoperability, how does the BridgeHead Healthcare Data Management (HDM) platform fit into this vision?

The core BridgeHead mission substantially aligns with the Jason Report in that it separates data from the applications that create it and the storage upon which it sits. BridgeHead’s recently announced HealthStore Independent Clinical Archive (ICA) does exactly that. A modular solution built on top of the BridgeHead HDM platform, BridgeHead HealthStore enables hospitals to standardize access to key elements of the patient record while simultaneously freeing them from dependence on any single system to locate the information.

Because of this, BridgeHead has been able to add a meta data layer, a folder and file structure for unstructured — and previously unsearchable – data, to HealthStore. This enables hospitals to integrate the 80% of healthcare data which is unstructured with the rest of their data in a common archive that is searchable in a standard format.

The ONC report talks about embracing multiple data platforms — medical devices, home monitoring tools, and health information technology, including EHRs – how does BH plan to incorporate this data into its HDM platform?

Hospitals are famous for collecting data in silos on multiple data platforms. BridgeHead is aggregating that data into a common repository, HealthStore, which offers standards-based integration with any clinical data source.

While the core BridgeHead HDM platform always has been able create storage management policies, in the latest release, this functionality has been modified in order to present content to the registry within HealthStore and, at the same time, provide more complex methods of examining and indexing content.

With XDS at its core, BridgeHead HealthStore can ingest content in any format: DICOM, HL7 documents, native XDS documents and unstructured content. All content is registered in the central Directory, which can be searched via single interface, greatly simplifying access to disparate content types. Moreover, because the BridgeHead HDM can now ingest items from a file system and at the same time query the environment to obtain meta-data about the ingested item, HealthStore can add context to file-based data repositories and manage the meta-data separately from the original content.

The report cites the evolution of standards, policies, and data infrastructure over the next 10 years as essential to more standardized data collection, sharing, and aggregation for patient-centered outcomes research. Does BridgeHead’s adoption of XDS as its core standard fit with this ONC requirement?

XDS is a crucial element of the BridgeHead HDM platform. We all know that the healthcare industry is good at avoiding standards. DICOM is a great example. However, unless healthcare moves to standards-based data, the ONC vision for healthcare interoperability cannot be achieved. BridgeHead has made XDS its standard both within the platform and for ingesting data into the platform.

The ONC has concluded that in order to achieve true interoperability, healthcare needs to be able to integrate data both internally within the hospital walls and externally. This is important if an organization is going to share data on a state or national level. The combination of XDS, plus the BridgeHead repository and search capabilities gives hospitals what they need to make an HIE realistic.

BridgeHead recently announced HealthStore, the first Independent Clinical Archive.  What is the role of the HealthStore ICA in an Interoperable Health IT Infrastructure?

BridgeHead HealthStore gives hospitals the ability to seamlessly aggregate all their relevant data into a secure, standards-based, searchable repository.  So that they have:

  • Single point of integration for multiple EMR systems,
  • Single point of access for pragmatic analytical tools,
  • Single platform for data policy management and disaster recovery

With HealthStore, BridgeHead delivers on the ONC’s vision for a standards-based platform that not only introduces new levels of data interoperability, but that also provides core backup and recovery capabilities, data cleansing, data governance, plus multiple copies of the data for recovery. HealthStore incorporates the eight grounding principals of the Jason report as best practices for data interoperability. So once a hospital has adopted the HealthStore ICA, everything else gets easier.

BridgeHead has long been comfortable providing the plumbing for healthcare data management. Now, the HealthStore ICA brings this data into the primary workflow. BridgeHead continues to update HealthStore with enhancements – the user interface, repository – that are necessary to move the platform up the stack.

How Does BridgeHead HealthStore Help Meditech Users?

By adopting this approach, BridgeHead helps the entire Meditech community – some 1,000 hospitals – to take the first steps towards interoperability.  The latest version of the BridgeHead HDM platform enables them to manifest an ICA quickly, easily and inexpensively.

Find out more by reading the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) white paper: “Connecting Health and Care for the Nation: A 10-Year Vision to Achieve an Interoperable Health IT Infrastructure.”

Read about the latest updates to the BridgeHead Health Data Management platform and to BridgeHead HealthStore

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