“When It Goes Well, It Feels Like Magic” Two HIT Experts Chat about the Real-World Impact of Interoperability

September 09, 2019

One of the great things about working in health information technology are the people you encounter who have the enthusiasm and expertise to envision how digital tools can transform patients’ lives--and then deliver on that promise. It’s truly inspiring.

Two such people are Surescripts’ Product Innovation Manager Kat Thorp and Product Manager Kelly Bundy, who are working to advance healthcare interoperability every day. They’ve spent their careers developing and optimizing digital applications, such as our national Record Locator & Exchange solution, which enables the exchange of patient clinical data across disparate electronic health records and health systems, regardless of care provider or geography.

A few days ago, these two HIT experts sat down to discuss, on camera, their real-world experience with healthcare interoperability. They shared both personal and professional experiences, as well as how they see interoperability manifesting in the future.

“When it goes well, it feels like magic,” said Kat, speaking of her ongoing personal experience with interoperability. As a patient currently undergoing treatment for cancer, her patient data is being seamlessly exchanged between her many care providers. “But when it doesn’t go well it’s really painful,” she added, recounting the experience of one of her closest relatives, where a lack of healthcare interoperability had dramatic results.

But, she said, “we get to take these stories and these lessons and make a difference, to apply them to our products such as Record Locator & Exchange and Clinical Direct Messaging. I know that interoperability is at the heart of healthcare. I know it lowers costs, but interoperability also creates better patient care and safety. And those are not just transactions. Those [transactions represent] people. Those are patients.”

Kelly noted how strange it is that some people in the industry aren’t aware that interoperability is happening today. It’s not some lofty goal; it’s already here.

“We’re proving that every day,” she said, mentioning the dramatic increase in the exchange of clinical histories across health systems, as revealed in our National Progress Report.

The numbers are clearly impressive, Kelly added, but what’s more impressive is the direct impact on patient care. “One of our customers was able to use Record Locator & Exchange to discover his patient had a very serious cardiovascular condition and was able to transfer this patient to the closest university hospital to get the most aggressive and appropriate treatment.”  

“I am so proud I get to be a part of that,” she said.

To read more about our work to advance and deliver interoperability, check out our National Progress Report and our blog, Intelligence in Action. And follow us on Facebook to get all the details on our next Facebook Premiere video, when a new set of Surescripts thought leaders takes on another hot topic: price transparency.

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