As patient safety remains at the forefront of healthcare’s DNA, it is staggering that medical errors continue to cost a large number of lives as well as billions of dollars. These preventable errors, as well government mandates, increase the need for efficiency and transformation in the overall “healthcare ecosystem,” which includes the various segments that have an impact on global patient safety issues - from pharmaceutical companies to payers, providers, and consumers.
This transformation toward efficiency should be enabled through the use of modern technology supported by flexible, agile and distributed n-tier architectures that can scale as the above mentioned healthcare ecosystem grows.
A set of business-driven architectural design principles (i.e., that represent business functionality as implementation-neutral, standards-based, distributed, loosely-coupled, and re-usable) can enable the healthcare ecosystem to be more agile and respond more quickly to changing business needs. We are starting to see elements of this in areas such as electronic submissions using standards such as HL7, as well as electronic health records, streamlining provider workflows and exchange of healthcare data (medical, biological etc.).
Adopting an incremental modernization approach with a focus on business-driven architecture will make healthcare data more accessible, providing real-time access to knowledge, accurate patient data, and reduced manual data entry errors. By re-using critical data assets, decoupling legacy systems and sharing accurate and complete information across multiple disparate systems, organizations in the health-care ecosystem reduce expenses and decrease the time needed to access oftentimes life-saving information. Additionally, through better access and analysis to disparate sources of data, several major diseases could be understood at the molecular level during clinical trials, reducing the overall risk to patient health right at the beginning of the healthcare “supply chain.”
Architecture modernization in the next few years will increase at a fast pace, and organizations within the healthcare ecosystem will need to go beyond optimization of their Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) strategy, and focus on incorporating emerging technologies (Cloud, Mobile, Social, Big Data) into their existing enterprise architectures. The push for intelligent electronic health records, real-time access to health data and complex sets of functions needed to enable electronic quality monitoring among other trends will drive the transformation of medicine. This transformation will be accelerated by a combination of revolutionary technologies and evolutionary practices.