HIMSS23: InterSystems quietly preaching the gospel of interoperability while charting progress with partners like the VA

CHICAGO—The healthcare industry is at an inflection point with the disruption of old systems and industry acceptance of new tech, and this is where health tech company InterSystems sees the future of better health data sharing.

While bottlenecks and hesitancy still reside on the path to true interoperability, users of the company's solutions are seeing real progress, executives said Tuesday at the Healthcare Information Management and Systems Society global conference.

Don Woodlock, head of global healthcare solutions at InterSystems, led a discussion with eHealth Exchange, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and PainChek on their use of InterSystems’ technology.

Jay Nakashima, eHealth Exchange executive director, discussed the company’s use of Intersystems’ HealthShare managed solutions and how interoperability opens doors to other innovations.

“Now that we've digitized the medical record, there's obviously a lot of data, and it's much more than clinicians at the point of care can comb through so they can provide safe and effective care,” Nakashima said. “So I would love to see AI in an accelerated fashion be able to process that data.”

EHealth Exchange is one of six prospective Qualified Health Information Network candidates under the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement formed by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

By using HL7 Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR), eHealth Exchange was able to scale its network while introducing services such as push notifications and data-level queries, an advantage Nakashima said the use of FHIR technology provides to the industry.

The company connects federal agencies and nonfederal organizations, including 75% of U.S. hospitals, to share patient records. Nakashima told Fierce Healthcare that one of his current priorities is encouraging those hospitals to join in true interoperability.

PainChek CEO Philip Daffas explained that his company’s leveraging of InterSystems’ interoperability capabilities has increased providers’ insights into patient pain. The company seeks to quantify the “fifth vital”: pain.

The company uses AI to create standardized measures of pain, and interoperability enables PainChek to integrate video assessment of patients' facial movements and voice analysis to assess timbre and effect along with other vitals and metrics into a patient's medical history.

“This is basically another step by AI to help doctors, nurses and carers make better decisions and get better outcomes,” Daffas said. “We're here to enable and help. Pain assessments are one of the most important objective parts of assessing pain for those who can't truly verbalize reliably.”

By returning that insight into providers’ clinical records, both short-term and long-term medical insights can be gained. “It takes out the subjectivity of doing the pain assessment in that sector,” Daffas said.

From the VA, Jason Blaisdell, IT program manager, and Ted Gauckler, project manager for information technology, spoke about the VA's implementation of modern infrastructure to connect data within its own systems. Through partnering with InterSystems, providers serving veterans can access a single platform for patient data. The partnership has also allowed for the simplification of patients seeking care outside VA facilities.

“We address security with the utmost care,” Gauckler said. “Anytime there's a new release or patch or anything, it affects security. I never want to say there's no possible way, because there are bad people out there, but we don't have any issues.”

InterSystems most recently partnered with Pria to help improve patient outcomes and streamline at-home care delivery with its healthcare cloud technology.