November 9, 2017

Future clinical information is open

Tom Saari

Medical Advisor, Tieto

Perttu Pöyhtäri

Software Architect, Tieto

The doctor hears heart murmur in the patient's heart. The patient does not remember whether a similar finding has been made earlier. When the physician enters the information to the patient record, the system automatically searches for the previous entries for listening to the heart for comparison. With one click, the doctor can read all the earlier listening findings of the heart.

When the doctor records new patient status data, the system’s decision support interprets the findings and checks the patient's diagnoses, medication and laboratory tests to provide advice based on care recommendations, and assists in planning further care. Once signed in, the relevant information can be automatically transferred from the record to, for example, referrals. Patient's key data and test results are collected for different needs on tailored views. 

The common nominator in the simplified process described above is structured data that is entered according to the open data model. Structured recording enables showing and processing of data according to different topics and specialties. When data is once entered in a structured way, it can be automatically utilized in the patient care and service plan. Searching and comparing data from a wide history will speed up.  
Adjustable templates ensure that each patient is treated individually.  A standardized, international data model builds the foundation for tracking the effectiveness of care. 

Structured, open and customizable

The future of social and healthcare information and systems is structured, open and adjustable.  The amount of data will increase exponentially.  The faster patient and customer information will be structured, the more versatile the utilization of information can be. 

Traditionally, every system vendor has had its own way to store information - their own data models.  Therefore, the systems have been closed and their mutual integrations complex.  Tieto’s choice to move to an international, standardized, open data model opens up new opportunities for Nordic healthcare system development. 

The investments made by the system vendor and healthcare organizations are not tied to one system only.  The goal is long-term, standardized clinical documentation, and avoiding laborious system reform processes. The product development cycle changes from years to months, even to hours. 

openEHR enables the utilization of international and national clinical data and care recommendations, as well as fast organization-specific customizability. 

Adaptations are available from one application to another across organizational boundaries without any integration or software changes.  Open data speeds up the spread of best practices. 

Clinicians as product developers

In the openEHR international community, clinicians have risen to product developers - instead of IT architects. The goal is to create detailed clinical templates and care paths to serve clinical needs. The data storage of an open data model can be described as a stock of clinical data, which different systems can utilize without complex integrations.  An organization-specific, even user-specific modification of templates used in care work can be done quickly.  The open innovation system opens up diverse opportunities for application development also for start-ups. 

Learn more about the benefits of structured information and the open data model: openEHR

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