Improving the management of unstructured content is crucial when it comes to creating successful healthcare platforms. Clinicians can build better pictures of their patients when they use healthcare platforms which harness unstructured content, as well as structured content, to create a single source of clinical information.
Analysts like Garner and IDC estimate that as much as 80 per cent of patient information is currently unstructured and is not contained in Electronic Health Records (EHRs). This means that vital clinical information, such as paper records or medical imaging, which does not tick specific boxes, can be overlooked.
Peter Weston, Manager for Hyland Healthcare APAC, says: “EHR and Electronic Medical Record (EMR) solutions typically do not manage unstructured content well. Usually, these suppliers store the unstructured content in Blob format. Storage of unstructured content in Blob format can grow considerably and quickly impact a database’s performance.
It is better to keep the unstructured content out of the EMR/EHR and leave those systems to manage the ‘structured’ content they are designed to do. EMR/EHR systems do not cater for Enterprise Imaging either, so again this content needs to be managed in a dedicated imaging platform.”
Weston believes that managing unstructured content such as medical content, medical imaging and business content will be beneficial. He therefore advises healthcare managers who are looking to invest in new technology to adopt a platform which provides unstructured content as vendor agnostic solutions, with a standards-based approach to managing that content.
He points out that Cloud provision is another important consideration: “We provide a Cloud First approach, offering Software as a Service (SaaS). Firstly, we manage the complete solution (software, hardware, networking) including the upgrades and secondly, every SaaS provides Disaster Recovery. In today’s climate, customers struggle to maintain the highly skilled IT resources with the security skills needed to manage on site systems”.
According to Weston, integration is another aspect to think about as most provider organisations have a number of different Picture Archiving and Communication systems (PACS) in operation: “Typically, customers have several PACS systems from different vendors, even within a single hospital, for example in Cardiology or Radiology. With Hyland’s EI platform, our NilRead enterprise diagnostic viewer can present data to clinicians regardless of what it is or where the medical images are archived.
We can also have a seamless integration with the EMR where both the medical content and medical imaging are available, ‘in patient context,’ to be launched and viewed, allowing the clinicians to have one place, via their EMR, for accessing patient content.
The clinicians do not need to log in to separate systems, nor do they need to know where the data is, they just need quick and easy access.”
From Weston’s description, harnessing unstructured content along with structured content to create a single source Enterprise Content Management (ECM) platform has its advantages. Additionally, a true ECM platform which provides both the clinical content management and workflows, and back-office business administrative workflows, may help those struggling to reduce the number of applications being managed across healthcare enterprises.
More than 50 per cent of the US hospital market trust connected healthcare solutions from Hyland Healthcare to manage their unstructured patient content. Find about more these solutions here.