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Why Digital Health Needs System Neutrality

Topic: Why Digital Health Needs System Neutrality

Do you recall the Intel Inside commercials? This campaign, created in the 1990s, showed the quality of the microprocessor and served as a selling point for a variety of computer brands. You could have the brand of computer you want, but make sure the processor is from Intel.

Healthcare is seeing a similar moment now. There are a variety of health IT system options that create the infrastructure foundation. Each system has technology that plugs into it to add capabilities, such as radiology systems, patient education and digital health tools. As an industry, we need to ensure data silos and disjointed experiences are not created as a result.

Currently, only two electronic health record (EHR) vendors have more than 25% of the hospital market share: Epic with 29% of the hospital EHR market and Cerner with 26%. Some health systems have standardized on one EHR; however, many have inpatient, outpatient and community physicians that may use different systems. As medications are not tied to health IT systems, neither should digital therapeutics or any other digital tools that supplement patient care.

My company recently had to decide if it would remain successfully integrated with one EHR system or also form a relationship with a second partner. Here are some thoughts behind why we decided working with more than one system was better for our partners, our customers and their patients.

Options lead to better partnerships.

Most companies, including those offering digital health, are better partners when they have the perspective of more than one system. Supporting multiple systems means a better experience for our customers and the people they serve. Not being tied to one partner also means that we can make decisions in the best interest of our customers.

In an era of healthcare consolidation, one health network with one EHR may acquire another organization using a different EHR. Having platforms and tech that can plug into either will keep provider and patient experience seamless during transitional phases and could prevent at least one headache for the IT department.

Another consideration is having A/B options for digital health solutions so providers and health systems can determine which content library or mental health app, for example, will best benefit their patient population. A vendor-neutral platform makes supplying these options significantly easier on IT.

Digital health should drive patient experiences.

For several years, there has been a slow movement toward consumerism in healthcare. The pandemic propelled this concept forward by several years, quickly driving home the need for alternate care sites, along with the role technology can play in educating patients as well as enabling remote monitoring and virtual visits. Sometimes, a person needs care, and the best place to receive it is at home.

Topic Discussed: Why Digital Health Needs System Neutrality

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