Data management, actionable insights and patient engagement: 5 questions with MedicaSoft CEO Mike O'Neill

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Healthcare is changing in leaps and bounds. More than ever, we are seeing nuances and ideas brought front and center. But a foundational question remains: How can healthcare organizations make the most of information that's at hand and available today to improve the overall state of patients' health?

Here are five quick thoughts with Mike O'Neill, CEO of MedicaSoft, on how healthcare organization's can use data to improve patient care:

Editor's note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Question: Healthcare is experiencing pressure to deliver affordable, effective solutions that support better patient experiences. How are MedicaSoft's solutions supporting these efforts?

Mike O'Neill: As care models and payment models evolve, providers and payers are finding that better patient engagement is key to improving outcomes and reducing costs. Effective patient engagement starts with a complete picture of the data — the end-to-end patient health record, associated costs, data and feedback from the patient. We deliver a platform that organizes that data in a meaningful way, and we provide a personal health record that empowers patients to manage their own health and wellness. These tools form an effective link between patients, providers and payers so that the patient experience is positive and well-coordinated, providing patients and caregivers more insight into disease states and patient well-being and to promote sustainable healthy living.

Q: Data gets captured, but it's not always used effectively to support the total patient experience. What insights can you provide to resolve this dilemma?

MO: What we're all after — both patients and providers — is not so much data, but information: Am I making progress on my health goals, is this medication improving my condition, et cetera. Creating useful information is more than just aggregating a collection of raw data. It's important to start with a data model that can normalize all that data, no matter where it came from, and organize it into longitudinal health records. Data management is the core of an effective health IT platform. Once you get the data right, you can build all kinds of useful information-bearing services — from patient dashboards, to clinical decision support in EHRs, to analytics, and more.

Q: MedicaSoft is working on great initiatives supporting our veterans for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Can you share some highlights?

MO: Members of the MedicaSoft team have deep experience with the VA, from serving as the VA's chief architect for health IT, to initiating the VA Center for Innovation. Members of our team have also worked on the agency's health IT systems, including the VA's VistA EHR, its enterprise bed management system and Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources, or FHIR, application programming interfaces for mobile health applications. MedicaSoft is proud to be a member of the Cerner team for the VA's EHR modernization project, and we look forward to working on this important effort to support our nation's veterans. MedicaSoft's unique expertise with VA systems and with industrywide health information exchange will help Cerner deliver real-time seamless data sharing and cultivate improved clinician and veteran experiences as part of the VA's EHR modernization effort.

Q: Patient information is becoming more reliant on connected devices, and security is paramount. What is the best approach to support mobile patient data access while ensuring data security?

MO: It's important for healthcare to take a look at how other industries have addressed security as IT systems shifted from tightly controlled centralized data access to more open, distributed access using web and mobile technology. We give patients easier access to their healthcare data to yield — among other things — a boost to the patient engagement experience. But we also realize the vulnerability when moving data outside of the relatively safe confines of an EHR and the four walls of a hospital to an open community. At MedicaSoft, we build platforms that incorporate best of breed security practices in our solutions while also affording flexibility, speed and performance. By applying leading edge security technology and aligning with healthcare standards, we ensure the safety, privacy and security of healthcare data.

Q: Artificial intelligence is becoming invaluable in healthcare with improvements seen not only with diagnosis, but also with hospital operations and best practices. What trends are you seeing with the use of AI today?

MO: There is a lot of hype surrounding AI in healthcare, but we believe that there is real value beyond the buzzwords. When you have the ability to bring together large amounts of meaningful data and apply increasingly powerful computing technology, you have the ability for IT systems to perform tasks normally associated with people, and this is a trend that will grow in healthcare. At MedicaSoft, AI is a set of technologies that we can use to help our customers meet clinical and business objectives. Most often, that means intelligent automation of processes — from simple to complex — so that the people in the process can focus more effectively on their objectives. We see this approach taking hold across the healthcare continuum, from care delivery to new payment models.

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